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F1 racing cleaner than most sports

Good sports: The FIA's Garry Connelly, speaking at last year's Cars of Tomorrow conference, says F1 is leading the way when it comes to environmentally responsible policies in sport.

Quiet new F1 cars are just the tip of the FIA’s environmental iceberg

6 Mar 2015

THE Formula 1 championship and its governing body, the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile, are playing a major role in reducing carbon emissions and promoting environmentally friendly behavior, according to Australia’s most senior motorsport official.

Member of the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council and deputy president of the FIA Institute for Motor Sport Safety and Sustainability Garry Connelly said that world motorsport is outpacing every other sport in its efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and generally encourage environmental awareness.

Mr Connelly, who lives in Queensland, said a prime example was the introduction last year of the most efficient power units ever seen in F1.

While there was some consternation amongst spectators around the fact that the power units sounded a lot less dramatic than the previous engines, Mr Connelly said people were gradually realising just how good the new power units are.

“I don’t want to be drawn too much on the situation in F1 because I think there is far to much negativity focusing on that and not enough on the positives,” he told GoAuto.

He said the new cars, with their heavy reliance on electricity regeneration, were a big step forward.

“When you think about it, getting the same performance with 30 per cent less energy it’s a marvelous achievement.

“I think people are now starting to understand better the amazing technology that is represented in these cars, and I think people are starting to understand that they are looking at leading edge technology here.”

He said the efficiency achieved by the F1 cars was the result of a program designed to reduce emissions and waste across all forms of motorsport.

“All our championships need to be sustainable, but they also have to achieve some other things,” he said.

“Formula 1, in particular, has to set an aspirational level as to technology.

It has to be at the leading edge, promote innovation and, of course, it has to be environmentally sustainable.

“It was a really great achievement that these cars came into being in 2014.”

He said the sportscars that race in the World Endurance Championship also had extremely efficient, cutting-edge technology. He will detail the benefits of the technology in an address to next week’s Cars of Tomorrow conference in Melbourne.

The Cars of Tomorrow conference will be held immediately after the 18th Asia Pacific Automotive Engineering Conference in the run up to the Australian Grand Prix on March 15.

Mr Connelly said the FIA started a tree-planting program in 1996 to ensure that it offset the entire carbon footprint of Formula 1 each year.

However, the emphasis has now moved from just catching up by planting trees to encouraging everyone in motorsport to reduce their emissions and waste instead.

“The FIA Institute for Motor Sport Safety and Sustainability, of which I am deputy president, has a very big focus on environmental accreditation for teams, for organisers, for individual events, even for car clubs and organisations like the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport to ensure that they’re leading the world in relation to sustainable sport.

“Motorsport is one of the very few sports that has an environmental accreditation program and it’s world class,” he said.

The campaign was launched in 2012 and the following year to FIA Institute awarded the first accreditation at the highest possible level under its scheme to the McLaren group, the F1 racing team and supercar manufacturer.

“They are using world’s best practice as far as sustainability is concerned,” Mr Connelly said.

In Australia, the Rally Australia round of the world rally championship has also been accredited at the highest level.

“More and more we are getting organisations that are using world’s best practice. You don’t find many sports that fit that bill.”

He said companies wanting to achieve the highest level of accreditation needed to do more than just offset their carbon emissions or waste.

“It’s more than just offsetting your carbon footprint. It’s about determining what you can do to reduce that carbon footprint. And not just the carbon footprint.

“It covers things like waste disposal, tipping oil down drains. You can’t offset that. You’ve got to stop it.”

Mr Connelly said he was confident the crowds would return to Albert Park this year despite the furore over the muted engine noise of the new cars.

“I don’t think you are going to see a fall in attendance this year. I think that’s a furphy.

“I think the crowds in Melbourne will be bigger than last year. They all know what to expect now because they experienced it last year.”

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