I think this matter must be looked from different perspectives. While F1 is a racing series with cars running on internal-combustion, fuel powered engines, it’s quite obvious that it HAS an effect on the environment. However, we should look deeper into it and search of the heart of the problem.
We are all F1 fanatics and we do know a lot about the sport. People who don’t follow it don’t know. We can’t think like those who don’t follow F1, because we are not them, but we can figure out that when they turn on the television and see 24 or so cars running 300km each “for nothing”, they think it is utterly useless and is only harming the environment. However, F1 cars’ carbon emission is not where the teams produce more CO2, and it is nothing compared to the emissions of normal daylife activity.
How much carbon do you think a plane produce? A lot, right? Now imagine thousands of planes flying hundred thousands of kilometres everyday. It’s quite strange that I never heard anyone complaining about plane emissions nor coming up with a different engineering solution to make planes more green.
And no matter how much carbon F1 cars produce, they only run about 700km in each race weekend. My father run much more in his Chevrolet Kadett (Vauxhall Astra there in Britain) every week. And my father is only one person in the world – there are hundred million drivers running something close (or much more than) 700km each week. F1 worst carbon emissions do not come from the cars. But how many people who don’t follow the sport will figure that out? How would they believe if you tell them that running a wind tunnel and flying back and forth around the world is worse then running the race? I really think that this “make cars green” thing, running 5,25% of ethanol and etc is only propaganda. Maybe trying tell people that F1 do care about the environment, but they are not ready to change everything they have to carbon-frendly equipment in a short timeframe.
What if the FIA banned wind tunnels? CDF is getting more sofisticated everyday and someday it will simulate even the most complexes effects, without hurting the environment like windtunnels do. And why not orginize the callendar in a way so teams need to travel less?
In the end, it is not running the cars that hurts the environment most, it is running the sport – we need some big changes in this field to make the sport more green. BUT I’m in favour of introducing greener technologies, maybe not to bring the F1 emissions level to zero, but to reduce it significantly, because we all know that F1 is a technology research laboratory, and anything that can be done to make the cars pollute less – be it KERS, Hydrogen engines, etc – will have an impact on road cars. And THAT is the heart of the matter…
(sorry for any typos you might find, I’m in a bit of a hurry :P)