This will be of no interest at all to the US contingent, who have mainly never even heard of Formula 1, but they’ve changed the rules this year, and have totally ruined it. Instead of a thumping great V10, the cars now have a tiddly little 1.6 litre V6. That’s about 100 cubic inches for those in the States, and I suspect you have ride-on mowers with bigger engines than that. The ecowarriors’ beloved hybrid Prius has a bigger engine than that. Admittedly with twin turbochargers they put out a pretty remarkable 700 odd bhp, and there are two energy recovery systems that can store energy from braking and elsewhere, and chip in another 130 bhp or so. So the power isn’t much down on last year’s cars, and to be honest has made for some exciting racing, with the world champion for the past four years being shown a clean pair of heels by various teams who’ve got the technology sorted out while Red Bull struggle.
There are two problems here. The cars are too quiet. The noise from an F1 car should slam you against the nearest wall and threaten to rip off your head just immediately after all your fillings have been shaken loose.
The second problem is the logic here. The organisers claim that the new cars are ‘more environmentally responsible,’ and consume a third less fuel than last year. Then the sport requires 24 cars, associated spares and tools, and 12 teams of 60 people (F1 is very labour intensive) to be moved from Australia, to Malaysia, to Bahrain, round most of Europe, Canada, back to China. All by air. There’s a company based at Stansted Airport that does nothing but ship F1 round the world. Now that’s not very ‘environmentally sensible,’ is it? The obvious thing to do would be hold the entire season at Silverstone, since most of the constructors are based in the UK, and nearly all of those could pretty much walk to Siverstone because they’ll all round Milton Keynes, which is right next door.
I can’t see it happening in NASCAR. I was watching the other day, and not only was there a grid of 43 cars bellowing away with over 400,000 bhp on tap in total, but there was a flypast by a B52 bomber trailing black smoke all over the sky. I can’t see it happening in IndyCARTS either. Nor drag racing. Not truck racing
Really, in the cosmic scheme of things, the environmental impact of of the fuel consumption of race cars, including F1 cars, is negligible. Do you want to make an impact? Stop buying anything that has been imported. Shipping is the single biggest mechanical source of CO2 emissions. It way outstrips power stations and just about everything else. And if your out of season strawberries didn’t come by ship, they got flown in from somewhere a long way away. And the FIA pretends to worry about fuel consumption. I despair.