Formula One isn’t exactly known for its frugality and economy, but the motorhomes that teams set up at European races are next level lavish. I mean, these things are nicer and more expensive than any house I’ve ever lived in (Ross Brawn aptly calls them “gin palaces”). And they should be one of the first things to go as F1 pushes to go carbon neutral by 2030.
F1's actual plans are pretty nebulous right now, in the same way that a lot of political candidates keep their policy proposals nice and vague to give themselves wiggle room to figure things out as they go along. But motorhomes would be a pretty simple way to cut down on emissions.
Ross Brawn, F1's managing director of motorsport, has pointed out just how wasteful these things are:
We go to overseas races, for example we go to Baku, and you have a nice set of prefabs all laid out for you. Nobody complains, and it is all workable.
Then we go to Monza and we have our gin palaces with all the trucks that are needed to transport them. So in the future, we want to move to a motorhome or hospitality facility which could be put up with far less impact in terms of logistics and transportation than we have now.
Brawn notes that these “gin palace” motorhomes only turn up at European races—or, a paltry nine races a year. The other 15 races, teams are more than happy to use far more basic structures. At the US Grand Prix this year, for example, I noticed that several teams basically just had large tents set up and also took advantage of the trackside suites that are part of COTA’s garage. It didn’t seem like anyone was worse for wear for having to tone down the luxury.
Motorsport.com also notes that, for European races, a total of 315 diesel trucks are used to transport equipment for teams, F1 generally, Pirelli, and the FIA. If it’s just F1, expect about 60 trucks or so. You can check out more about the logistics of F1's travel in this great video:
Basically, teams are just carting all this stuff around with them because they can. But with F1's new carbon neutrality plan that specifically requires “ultra-efficient logistics and travel,” it’s next to impossible to reconcile the sheer waste of a single team transporting a whole entire building to and from a meager nine races a year. Brawn notes that the series has been considering moving to more eco-friendly options, like travel by train or sea, as well as ditching motorhomes altogether.
I think that last option is the best way to go. There are so many inane, wasteful aspects of motorsport that you can find some roundabout way to justify—but these motorhomes are not one of them. The cars will still be fast, and team personnel (and fancy guests) will still be able to sip expensive champagne in a nicer-than-any-other-race-series getup. It just might be a swanky tent instead of a million dollar structure. And it needs to happen sooner rather than later.