At a time when Formula 1 has come under fire for a 24-race calendar for 2023, Mercedes has shown how teams can take their own responsibility to help reduce the sport’s environmental impact.
The Brackley-based team decided to experiment with 16 of its trucks, which it uses to transport all of its F1 team’s equipment with Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO 100) biofuel during the three races following the summer break in Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy.
The Germans wanted to take advantage of these three events, with a driving distance of 1,400 kilometers between them, to learn about the challenges and positive effects of switching fuel.
The team hopes that the lessons learned, especially with regard to supply problems in continental Europe, can help take a step towards using sustainable fuels to the extent possible as early as 2023.
Having successfully completed one of its tests with a truck at the Hungarian Grand Prix, Mercedes took the risk with 16 of its trucks in the last three races of the course.
And all but 20 km of the 1,400 km were completed with biofuel. Only the lack of availability of that product in Italy meant that the last 20 km to reach Monza had to be done with diesel.
The test analysis showed that the use of the HVO 100 biofuel helped them save a total of 44,091 kg of CO2 , which represents an 89% reduction in emissions .
Mercedes director Toto Wolff said the experiment was a great example of the effort being made by his team to reduce their carbon footprint.
“Sustainability is at the core of our operations,” he said. “Trying biofuel with our ground transportation is yet another example of our commitment to integrate sustainability into all the decisions and actions we take.”
“Our goal is to be at the forefront of change and we look forward to making the adoption of sustainable technology possible as we are all in a race to a more sustainable tomorrow.”
HVO 100 is a 100% renewable fossil fuel obtained from vegetable oils, waste oils and fats. In addition to reducing CO2 emissions, it also produces fewer Nox and particulate emissions.
The Mercedes Formula 1 team aims to become Net Zero by 2030 , and has indeed become the first team in the racing world to invest in sustainable aviation fuel .
That alone is believed to help it achieve a 50% reduction in its footprint in team personnel flights, which account for more than a quarter of its total emissions each season.
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