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At a time when F1 chiefs have come under scrutiny for a 24-race 2023 calendar that jets around the world, Mercedes has shown how teams can take their own responsibility in helping make environmental improvements.

The Brackley-based squad elected to experiment with running 16 of its F1 race trucks on Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO 100) biofuel for the three post-summer break races in Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy.

It wanted to use the three events, which feature a total driving distance of 1400km, to gather some good insight into the challenges and positive impacts of switching from regular diesel.

The team is hoping that the lessons learned, especially around supply issues on mainland Europe, can help it move towards using sustainable fuels as much as possible in 2023.

Having successfully completed a test with one truck back home from the Hungarian Grand Prix, Mercedes chose to run 16 of them for its recent trial at the last three F1 events.

And all but 20 km of the 1400km were run on biofuel, with only the lack of availability of the product in Italy meaning the final 20km to Monza had to be done on diesel.

Analysis of the running showed that the use of the HVO 100 biofuel saved a total of 44,091kg of CO2 being released, which is a reduction in emissions of 89 percent.

Mercedes truck

Photo by: Mercedes AMG

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said the truck experiment was an example of the push being made by his team to reduce its carbon footprint.

“Sustainability is at the heart of our operations,” he said. “Trialling the use of biofuels for our land freight is another example of our commitment to embed sustainability in every decision we make and action we take.

“We aim to be on the cutting edge of change and hope we can make the adoption of sustainable technology possible as we are all in the race towards a sustainable tomorrow.”

HVO 100 is a 100 percent renewable fossil fuel that is derived from vegetable oils, waste oils and fats. As well as the fuel reducing CO2 emission, it also produces less Nox and particulate emissions

The Mercedes F1 team is aiming to become Net Zero by 2030, and has already become the first grand prix outfit to invest in Sustainable Aviation Fuel.

It believes this alone will help it achieve a net 50 percent reduction in the team’s carbon footprint for race personnel flights – which account for over a quarter of its overall emissions each year.

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