Mercedes-Benz has presented its sustainable business strategy for motorsport in an online press conference today. The strategic plan for Mercedes-Benz motorsport activities is driven by innovation, efficiency and new technologies – and includes major commitments to significantly reduce carbon emissions of the Mercedes-Benz works teams in Formula 1 and Formula E.
Consequently, the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team will cut its CO2 emissions by 50 percent by 2022 compared to the baseline set in 2018. The Mercedes works team has already taken important steps to reduce its emissions for the upcoming season through the transition to renewably sourced energy at its factories. The team will offset unavoidable CO2 emissions through gold-standard carbon offsetting, leading to a net-zero carbon footprint for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team from 2020, including its development facilities in both Brackley and Brixworth, UK.
Mercedes-Benz is not only taking responsibility for driving sustainable change in its own team. As an active participant in F1, the three-pointed star is advocating ambitious steps towards carbon neutrality throughout the sport. Mercedes-Benz has taken a leading role in the FIA working group for sustainable fuels and is pushing to increase the level of renewable fuels as well as the percentage of electric power in the F1 hybrid power units in future regulations.
Accelerating change through Mercedes-Benz motorsport activities
“We take a holistic approach to sustainability at Daimler – we take responsibility for the economic, ecological and social effects of our business activities,” said Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. “It’s our ambition to lead the way to carbon-neutral and sustainable mobility. F1 is one of the toughest technical competitions in the world and success can only be achieved by pushing technological boundaries every day. Our F1 team will achieve a net-zero carbon footprint in 2020 and we actively encourage F1 to take more ambitious steps towards CO2 neutrality for the entire sport and to race towards a sustainable future. With the direction announced today, we want to make sure that Formula 1 and Formula E enhance their positive impact for our brand going forward.”
Mercedes-Benz is the only automotive brand that competes in both Formula 1 and Formula E and benefits from this unique positioning. Motorsport plays an important role for Mercedes-Benz as a high-speed development laboratory for cutting-edge technologies and processes for both race cars and road cars.
Formula 1 is widely regarded as one of the toughest and most competitive technological battlegrounds in the world and the Mercedes F1 Team’s success is founded on pioneering spirit, technological prowess and the latest digital tools. Teams at the F1 and FE technology centres in Brackley and Brixworth in the UK work hand in hand with the global R&D laboratories of Mercedes-Benz on a multitude of collaborative projects ranging from drivetrain development and ride and handling to the digital development process and aerodynamics.
Formula 1 introduced cutting-edge hybrid engines in 2014, incorporating an electric turbocharger and powerful brake energy recovery system, which aligned the technological journey of the sport with that of the automotive industry. In its first year, the Mercedes-Benz F1 Power Unit achieved a thermal efficiency of 44 percent; today, the hybrid engine runs at a thermal efficiency of more than 50 percent, making it one of the most efficient internal combustion engines ever built. Mercedes-Benz engineers around the world use the knowledge and technology gained from the F1 Power Unit development to enhance road car engines, for example by further developing combustion processes from the F1 engine so that they can be used in highly efficient drivetrains in production cars.
Another important part of the collaboration between Mercedes-Benz road-car engineers and their race-car colleagues in the UK are the complex electric and electronic systems that both F1 and FE use. Engineers on both sides benefit from the efficient digital development process of drivetrain components that has been established over the years and the regular exchange on new materials and designs for high-performance electric motors.
The cooperation is not restricted to high-tech drivetrain components though. Engineers work together to grow their understanding of simulation and real-world data correlation that helps to improve the digital development process for both road cars and race cars. Developing cars digitally becomes increasingly more important as simulation tools become more powerful; digital transformation has become a pivotal element for Mercedes-Benz in both road car and race car development. In Formula 1, the regulations limit the amount of real-world testing teams can do. Before the start of a new season, the new car is allowed a maximum of 48 hours of on-track testing, so the vast majority of the test and development process has to be done digitally or on test dynos, making the digital development process an important foundation of a successful F1 season.
Pushing for economic and ecological sustainability
Formula 1 is one of the most important global marketing platforms for Mercedes-Benz and a powerful tool to advocate for positive change. The sport has a fan base of around 500 million people worldwide, 190 million of which are under the age of 34. In 2019, Formula 1 races reached a total cumulative TV audience of 1.9 billion people and generated an equivalent advertising value for Mercedes-Benz of over $1.5 billion, showcasing our pioneering technology and competitive spirit to fans around the world.
Financial sustainability is also at the forefront of Formula One’s approach to the future. From 2021, the new $175 million budget cap will significantly reduce the team’s spending in technical areas and drive diversification of the team into a broader scope of activities inside and outside motorsport. A new business division, Mercedes-Benz Applied Science, is already working on a suite of projects outside Formula One in areas such as high-performance sailing and cycling. For example, a team of nearly 20 engineers is currently supporting the INEOS TEAM UK America’s Cup sailing team in Portsmouth, UK. These activities will help put the team on the path to financial self-sustainability in the coming years.
Motorsport as part of sustainable business strategy
In May 2019, Daimler AG announced Ambition2039 which outlines the company’s path to sustainable mobility. It includes the goal to offer a CO2-neutral new passenger car fleet in 20 years. An important milestone is to have plug-in hybrids or all-electric vehicles make up more than 50 percent of all Mercedes-Benz Cars sales by already 2030. In its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Daimler also places a focus on its own plants and procurement of the energy they use. From 2022 all European Mercedes-Benz Cars and Vans plants will produce on a CO2-neutral basis. New plants are already being planned with this requirement in mind. The European plants of Daimler Trucks & Buses are also to have CO2-neutral power supplies by 2022. All other plants will follow.
“The entire automotive industry is in the middle of a massive change and Daimler very much leads the way in taking responsibility for sustainable mobility”, said Toto Wolff, Team Principal & CEO of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team and Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport. “We represent the three-pointed star on the racetrack, and we want our motorsport platforms to be a case study for the rapid and open-minded implementation of innovations for a more sustainable future. That goes from the hybrid and battery electric technology in our race cars, to our daily business practice at the racetrack and in our production facilities. We want to be at the forefront of this change.”
The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team aims to halve its CO2 emissions – from around 20,000 tonnes in 2018 to 10,000 in 2022. The very nature of Formula 1 as a motorsport series that races around the world means that there are certain unavoidable CO2 emissions, which the team will offset through gold-standard off-setting.
Among the steps the team has already taken is a commitment to renewable energy sources. The team’s high-tech chassis factory in Brackley already uses renewably sourced energy to power all its operations, which include facilities like the team’s wind tunnel, data centre, digital simulation environment and test benches.
The Brixworth technology centre, where Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) develops and manufactures the powertrains both Formula 1 and Formula E, produces more than half of its electricity using solar panels and an on-site CCHP plant. For all externally sourced energy, HPP has committed to switch to renewable power sources in the course of the current year. Both Brixworth and Brackley hold the international environmental management system certification ISO 14001.
The team’s commitments will also extend to how it operates at the racetracks. Single-use plastics will be eliminated from the team’s catering operations, and low-impact hotel stays will be adopted for every team member. From small details to major business transformations, Mercedes aims to embed sustainable business practice throughout its motorsport activities.
Sustainability and individual responsibility
The decision to drive sustainable change in motorsport was welcomed by Mercedes drivers in both series.
“Sustainability is very important to me personally; I’ve become more and more aware of the environmental issues we’re facing around the globe and I just want to have a positive impact and try to play my part in it,” said Lewis Hamilton. “I’ve changed to a plant-based diet, I’ve changed the way I travel and started off-setting my flights, and I’ve started to drive both plug-in hybrids and all-electric Mercedes vehicles; I’ve also put sustainability at the heart of other ventures I’m involved in, such as my new clothing collection with Tommy Hilfiger. It’s great to see that Mercedes is taking responsibility for sustainability and that the entire Mercedes family is making huge efforts to tackle the issue; I hope I can make a meaningful contribution to that transformation as well.”
“Formula E is a platform to showcase the performance of fully electric race cars and it’s great that Mercedes is taking ambitious steps to look at sustainability in motorsport in a holistic way,” said Nyck de Vries. “We are at the forefront of technology and we want to be at the forefront of sustainability as well. While our races are broadcast around the world, it’s important that we don’t just look at them, but also take the wider operation into account. It’s great to see the efforts that are being made at our hubs in Brixworth and Brackley, which benefit our Mercedes teams in both Formula 1 and Formula E.”