In 2019 Formula 1 announced the ambitious targets to have net-zero carbon footprint by 2030.
While that might sound like an achievable task for a sport at the forefront of technological innovation, this is no easy feat when you have to travel thousands of people around the world to entertain fans at 22 race weekends a year.
In 2023 the number of races is set to increase to 24, making it the longest in the championships history. F1's global and official logistics partner since 2004: DHL, faces a big challenge. A challenge that the German-based company takes on with confidence.
RacingNews365 spoke to John Williams at the Zandvoort circuit, Head of the DHL Motorsports Team, who takes care of the entire logistics planning of the F1 circus during the season.
“We provide multimodal transport solutions with DHL, with a focus on land and sea freight. During the European part of the season, we can use about 28 trucks to take all the freight to the next location where a GP is being held.
"That requires a lot from our organization, of course. Many people work hard to get everything in order every GP on time. In addition, it is a matter of good planning, we have been working on this for a long time in advance, to make sure that everything is as good as possible. However, unexpected things always happen and you always have to be prepared for that too.
"To arrange everything as best as possible, about 50 motorsport logistics experts spread across Europe are working full-time to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Thanks to this group of people, we can always respond to unexpected matters or moments.
"This means that we always get all the transport for the teams, F1 organization and TV channels to the next venue on time."
DHL not only transports racing cars but also spare parts, fuel, materials from TV companies, alongside marketing and hospitality materials for setting up the F1 Fan Zones.
While this was something that was unnecessary during the Covid period because no fans were allowed to be present on the track, the promoters of the various races have to respond to the increased fan intake who wants to see more than just F1 cars racing around the track.
People want to have a unique experience, but that means that the F1 organization and DHL will be faced with an even greater challenge, as even more activities are used to set up and optimize fan engagement.
More transport means higher CO2 emissions and that is exactly what F1 wants to prevent according to Ellen Jones, Head of Sustainability F1.
"The goal is indeed to be climate neutral within eight years from now. There are various strategies and ways to achieve this. We are working hard on this with a partner such as DHL, but also with the various circuits where we drive.
"The Zandvoort circuit is a good example of an organization causes as little CO2 emissions as possible, by using Altrio 100 generators that reduce emissions by 75-90% compared to standard generators.
"My role is to ensure that the entire emissions will go to 0% by 2030. To make that happen, we look at the calendar, what and who must travel to a Grand Prix, what we travel with and how we organize the calendar as effectively as possible."
Originally the Deutsche Post DHL Group, which is active in 220 countries, has committed itself to the net-zero mission of 2050.
For that the company will have to take major steps, including the use of 80,000 electrically powered vehicles with which the logistics company will work, an investment of 7 billion euros in climate-neutral means of transport by 2030 and the purchase of more than 830 million liters of zero-emission fuel for aircraft by 2022.
Steps that all compliment what Formula 1 has in mind to achieve their own net zero goals by 2030.
AS EARLY AS 2023, OUR TRUCKS WILL BE RUNNING ON CO2-FREE FUELS
Williams explains: "As early as 2023, our trucks will be running on CO2-emission-free fuels, which are also used for freight transport during the European races.
"Of course we have to look at how we are going to arrange this logistically in the first instance with ensuring the right fuel.
"When we have a back to back, it may not always be possible to arrange this completely in the first year because the fuels are not yet available everywhere. So it's important to see how the calendar will eventually collapse in 2023."
Part of the calendar already seems to be in order, but not all races have been assigned a date yet. It is clear that Formula 1 is doing everything it can to arrive at a 'logical' calendar as quickly as possible, whereby as little as possible has to be traveled from continent to continent.
"We are trying to do everything we can to get the calendar in order as soon as possible, to get that also in line with our 2030 target," Jones replied, when asked about how difficult it is to update the F1 calendar.
It is understandable that as little as possible should be traveled from the climate neutral aspect, but at the same time it is probably less interesting commercially to organize four or five races in a row in North America.
Jones added: "We are currently dealing with long-term contracts and logically we will have to accept them. At the moment we are already working on organizing the calendar as best as possible and we will always take the climate into account when making decisions."
It is clear that the F1 organization with DHL has a clear vision of where it wants to go, but that it will need time to realize the set objectives. Given the rapid progress that DHL is making with the introduction of climate neutral means of transport, it seems possible for F1 to actually achieve the high target of climate neutral by 2030.
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