Eco-Friendly F1: Eye-Popping Stats Suggest FIA Needs to Cut Gasses

Adam PooleAnalyst IOctober 22, 2008

I just want to preface this by saying I am not a naturist and am in no way affiliated with any "save the environment" organisations. I simply believe we should all do what we can to look after the environment in general.

With all the talk of cutting costs in F1, has the FIA not thought of the amount of pollution that 20-22 cars going around a track at 180 mph produces?

We all know the cost of fuel is rising, and it's something that has become somewhat of a luxury in some of the poorer households—not only here in the UK, but throughout the developing world.

If we look at the average family car (this will have to be a UK car, as that is where I live), the maximum fuel tank capacity is around 55 litres (14.5 gallon). The cost of fuel in the UK is around 99.9 pence per litre ($1.62 US), so to fill a tank from empty would cost around £54.94 ($89.08). A full tank of fuel would last around a week to an average user and would get them 407 miles at around 30 miles to the gallon.

Now we look at an F1 car. In China, a popular fill at the first round of stops was 56 litres, this got the driver 19 laps farther. The length of a Shanghai lap is 3.387 miles. After doing a couple of taps on a calculator, you will find out that 56 litres would get you 64.353 miles, as opposed to the average family car getting you around 407 miles. To do a full race in an F1 car, you would use 2.947 litres a lap, for 56 laps, a total race distance of 189.672 miles, using a total of 165.05 litres of fuel, or three weeks' worth of fuel to our average family.

So for every race, each car on our Formula One grid is using three weeks' worth of fuel, every 20-car grid lineup is the equivalent to 60 weeks' worth of fuel for an average driver. A total of 60 weeks' worth of fuel, and therefore pollution is emitted every race, and this doesn't include qualifying and training sessions.

For those that aren't bored with this yet, that is a total of 1080 weeks (just over 20 years) of fuel for an average driver used in an 18-race season. Again, without qualifying and practice sessions.

I'm sure you will agree, the F1 needs to concentrate more on cutting its pollution than cutting its costs.

Author's note: All figures are approximate.