What’s the carbon footprint of a Formula One (F1) car?

Ben Hedley puts Formula One head to head with the M1. Perhaps not surprisingly they are carbon miles apart...

Let’s compare an F1 car to a typical car in the UK which produces about 160 g/km, and over a year (10,000 miles) will produce about 2.56 tonnes of CO2.

According to Wikipedia a typical F1 burns 75 litres of fuel per 100km raced. Based on figures for petrol (which is a reasonable proxy of race fuel), 0.75 litres of fuel burnt per km equates to a CO2 output of 1737 g/km. And over a race season using approx 100,000 litres of the stuff, that’s 231 tonnes of CO2. Per car. And each team has 2. So for fuel alone, before the costs of flying to races, support vehicles and the number of cows required to furnish Max Mosley’s “special” wardrobe, that’s about 463 tonnes per team. I wonder if they carbon offset?

At least they’re becoming hybrids for the 2009 season…

Showing 4 comments
  • Mikko Jeanneret

    I am not sure a F1 car uses as much fuel over the season as indicated.
    You say: 100’000 [litres] /0.75 [litre/km]= 133’333 [km]
    One race is about 307km + Qualification 1: max 60km + Q2: max 60 + Q3: max 25km = 452 [km] all together.
    There are 20 races per year and they are limited to 15’000 [km]/year for testing (since 2009).
    Total for the year: 24’040 [km].
    Total fuel consumption: 24’040 [km]x 0.75[l/km]= 18’030 [l]
    Total CO2 emissions: 18’030 [l] x 2.75 [kg/l]= ~50 [CO2 tonnes]
    I may have forgotten any other testing phases, I am not a F1 specialist.

  • Mikko Jeanneret

    This is of course the scope 1 emissions. The total footprint should also include the spectators’ trip to the event, moving all the materiel of the teams, the material itself (tyres, engines, …)called scope 3 (scope 2 would be electricity use). This is probably much more than the cars’ fuel consumption.

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