F1 after Olympics not eco-friendly

2012-07-19 09:44

LONDON, England - The chance of a Formula 1 race being held at the London Olympic Park has left environmentalist Jonathan Porritt scratching his head.

Organisers of the event are proud of their efforts to reduce its carbon footprint: as car-free as possible through an array of rail and bus links and secure bicycle parking.

At the same time, however, the London Legacy Development Corporation announced that one of the four bids to take over the Olympic stadium after the games was from a little-known company acting in association with Bernie Ecclestone's F1.


Premier League soccer team West Ham United remain favourite to become the main tenant but F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, who denies any direct involvement in the bid, has spoken in the past about his interest in hosting a race in London.

"Our life is full of irony isn't it," said Olympic 'Sustainability Ambassador' Porritt. "I find the whole story about F1 racing and sustainability quite difficult. F1 racing is a celebration of crazy, unsustainable use of cars in many ways and I would much rather like to see more use of the park for cycling and all of those kind of things."


F1 is trying to burnish its green credentials with teams and factories off-setting their carbon footprint and the sport declaring itself carbon neutral. Technical rules have been changed to make engines last longer, with bio-fuel and fuel efficiency set to be an increasingly important factor.

Manufacturers are also keen to establish a link between racing and 'greener' road cars.

Organisers have pushed urban street circuits, such as Singapore or Montreal, to where spectators do not have to drive to grands prix and have compared the sport favourably to the Tour de France cycle race which is followed daily by a long caravan of vehicles.


While the F1-angled bid for the London stadium looks like a long shot, the 2014 Winter Games in the Russian resort of Sochi has a grand prix as part of its legacy planning.

The first race there is scheduled for the months after the Games, using some of the same facilities built for the Olympics.

"One is bound to say that these things just sound dissonant," said Porritt.