Greenpeace political scientist blasts Formula 1

A Greenpeace expert has raised concerns about Formula 1's commitment to addressing climate change.

Benjamin Stephan, a Greenpeace political scientist, has expressed scepticism about Formula 1’s genuine dedication to climate action.

F1 has declared its intention to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 and to adopt fully synthetic fuel by 2026.

Stephan emphasised Formula One’s attempts to turn the sport “green” were token, and would have no real environmental impact.

He said: “Formula 1 sees that it has to act on climate protection, but it only does so superficially.”

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He urged Formula 1 to go beyond symbolic gestures and reconsider the environmental impact of the entire racing circuit.

Stephan said: “If Formula 1 doesn’t just want to use sustainability as a fig leaf, it has to rethink the carbon footprint of the entire racing circuit.

“It should be more regionalised instead of holding 24 races and flying masses of people and material around the world, as in the coming year.”

Formula 1 has incorporated hybrid engines since 2014.

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The electrical components will be escalated to provide a 50/50 split with the internal combustion engine from 2026.

The 2026 rule changes sparked protests from many team principals, who are concerned that cars may run out of battery power at certain circuits.

This may cause drivers to experience a sudden loss of speed on crucial straights while racing.

Without sufficient energy on the track, drivers could be forced into “bizarre behaviour.”

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said the rule changes could create “Frankenstein cars.”

However, Stephan is not impressed with the extent of the FIA’s green commitments in its 2026 rule changes.

He believes that: “Formula 1 technologies don’t get us any further in the mobility revolution and that sends the wrong message.”

He believes Formula 1’s current projects are mere cosmetic measures, amounting to what he refers to as “greenwashing.”

Stephan also criticised the continued reliance on combustion engines, even if improved, labelling them as outdated.

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The Greenpeace political scientist argued: “Combustion engines, even if they become a bit more efficient in Formula 1, are out of date.

“Synthetic and biofuels are not a solution because they are inefficient and too expensive.

“In the current transformation, Formula 1 is decoupling itself from the rest of the world.”