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New operator for Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, F1 issues first Impact Report

Featured image credit: Planet Labs, Inc./CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED/Edited for size

Fira de Barcelona has taken over management of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, home of Formula 1’s Spanish Grand Prix, while F1 has released its first Impact Report detailing the motor-racing series’ carbon footprint.

Fira de Barcelona organises trade shows and congresses in the city. Its Fira Circuit subsidiary will now assume operation and management of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, which has hosted the Spanish Grand Prix since 1991.

Barcelona’s place on the F1 calendar remains up in the air after the series announced in January that Madrid will host a race from 2026 as part of a deal that will run until 2035.

Madrid will replace Barcelona as host of the Spanish Grand Prix, but F1 has reportedly held talks over the possibility of the Catalan city retaining a spot on the calendar alongside the new race in the capital.

The Catalan Government said the awarding of the contract to Fira de Barcelona will not affect the ownership of the circuit’s assets nor the ownership of the F1 and MotoGP contracts, which will continue to be owned by Circuits de Catalunya.

It is hoped the new contract will expand the circuit’s hosting capabilities and reduce its reliance on motorsport events. The government said that the circuit could host fairs and congresses, as well as music and cultural events.

Meanwhile, F1 is “on target” to meet the goals set out in its sustainability strategy, according to the results of its first Impact Report.

The report shows how the strategy is being delivered through F1’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) activities, and the latest carbon footprint calculations show a 13% reduction in its carbon footprint compared to 2018.

Carbon data from the 2023 season is still being collated and calculated, so the 63-page document released by F1 refers to the 2022 season.

The 2018 baseline was confirmed in 2019, when F1 launched its sustainability strategy with the goal of achieving net zero carbon by 2030. F1 made a commitment to cut carbon emissions by a minimum of 50% versus 2018, and the Impact Report sets out the series’ steps to further reduce its carbon footprint and achieve the remaining 37% reduction.

The report found that over 75% of promoters used renewable energy sources to power aspects of their event in 2023, ranging from trial activations to the entire grand prix weekend, compared to 50% in 2022.

F1 noted that the Austrian Grand Prix reduced relevant emissions by more than 90% in the pit lane, paddock, and broadcast compound through a next-generation energy pilot, while the solar farm at the Bahrain International Circuit produced 5.28MW of clean energy between the 2022 and 2023 grands prix – enough renewable energy to cover all the circuit usage for F1 with capacity to spare.

The British Grand Prix was also fully powered by green energy alternatives, including 2,746 solar panels and the use of hydrotreated vegetable oil fuel in all temporary generators. The Las Vegas Grand Prix also launched a first-of-its-kind water conservation programme.

F1 president and chief executive Stefano Domenicali said: “Sustainability is one of the most important factors to us not only as a sport, but as a business. It is no longer enough for us to simply deliver great action and wheel-to-wheel racing on the track, we need to ensure that we are doing so in a sustainable way so our sport can thrive long into the future.

“F1 has been innovating and influencing wider society for over 70 years, and we’ve seen how the great minds and technology of the sport have had a positive impact in many different spaces, and now we have turned that expertise and insight to sustainability.”