In 2019, Formula 1 announced the ambitious goals of having a net zero carbon footprint by 2030.
While that might seem like an achievable task for a sport at the cutting edge of technological innovation, it’s no small feat when you have to travel with thousands of people around the world to entertain fans over 22 weekends. race ends per year.
In 2023, the number of races is expected to increase to 24, making it the longest in the history of the championships. Global logistics partner and official of F1 since 2004: DHL faces a major challenge. A challenge that the German-based company is taking on with confidence.
RacingNews365 spoke to John Williams at Circuit Zandvoort, head of the DHL Motorsports team, which handles all of the logistical planning for 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 around 28 trucks to transport all the freight to the next venue where a GP is taking place.
“It takes a lot from our organization, of course. A lot of people are working hard to get everything in order at every GP on time. Also, it’s a matter of good planning, we’ve been working on it for a long time in advance, to make sure everything is as good as it can be. However, unexpected things always happen and you always have to be prepared for that too.
“To organize everything as well as possible, around 50 motorsport logistics experts spread across Europe are working full time to make sure everything runs smoothly. Thanks to this group of people, we can always respond to questions. unforeseen or at unexpected times.
“That means we always get all the transport for the teams, the F1 organization and the TV channels to the next venue on time.”
DHL not only transports racing cars, but also spare parts, fuel, equipment from television companies, as well as marketing and hospitality materials for setting up F1 Fan Zones.
Although this was something that was not necessary during the Covid period as no fans were allowed to be present on the track, the promoters of the various races have to respond to the increase in the number of fans who want to see more than simple F1 cars race around the track. .
People want a unique experience, but that means the F1 organization and DHL will face an even greater challenge as even more activities are used to set up and optimize fan engagement.
More transport means more CO2 emissions and that’s exactly what F1 wants to avoid according to Ellen Jones, F1 sustainability manager.
“The goal is indeed to be climate neutral within eight years. There are different strategies and means to achieve this. We are working hard on it with a partner like DHL, but also with the different circuits where we drive.
“The Zandvoort circuit is a good example of an organization that generates the lowest CO2 emissions possible, using Altrio 100 generators which reduce emissions by 75-90% compared to standard generators.
“My role is to ensure that all emissions go to 0% by 2030. To achieve this, we look at the calendar, what and who must travel for a Grand Prix, what we travel with and how we let’s organize the schedule as efficiently as possible.”
Originally, the Deutsche Post DHL Group, active in 220 countries, committed to the net zero mission of 2050.
For this, the company will have to take important measures, including the use of 80,000 electric vehicles with which the logistics company will work, an investment of 7 billion euros in climate-neutral means of transport by 2030 and the purchasing more than 830 million liters of zero-emission fuel for aircraft by 2022.
Milestones that complete all that Formula 1 has in mind to achieve its own net zero targets by 2030.
FROM 2023, OUR TRUCKS WILL RUN ON CO2-FREE FUELS
– John Williams (DHL Motorsports Manager)
Williams explains: “From 2023, our trucks will run on CO2-free fuels, which are also used to transport goods in European races.
“Of course we have to look at how we are going to organize this logistically in the first place ensuring the right fuel.
“When we have a back to back, it is not always possible to organize this completely in the first year because the fuels are not yet available everywhere. So it is important to see how the calendar will eventually collapse in 2023 .”
Part of the calendar already seems to be in order, but not all the races have a date yet. It is clear that Formula 1 is doing everything to arrive as quickly as possible at a “logical” calendar, where you have to travel as little as possible from one continent to another.
“We are trying to do everything we can to get the schedule in order as soon as possible, so that it is also in line with our 2030 target,” Jones replied, when asked how difficult it was. to update the F1 calendar.
It is understandable that as little as possible is traveled from the climate-neutral aspect, but at the same time it is probably less commercially interesting 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 to organize the calendar as well as possible and we will always take the climate into account when making decisions.”
It is clear that the organization of F1 with DHL has a clear vision of where it wants to go, but that it will take time to achieve the objectives set. Given the rapid progress DHL has made with the introduction of climate-neutral means of transport, it seems possible that F1 will actually achieve the lofty goal of climate neutrality by 2030.