The Circuit de Catalunya and Sebastian Vettel, the world podium of 'sustainability racing'

Despite the apparent contradiction, motorsports can contribute more to society in environmental and social terms than might appear by its nature. For example, Sebastian Vettel, the Formula 1 driver most sensitive to ecology, tried in a recent interview to make his critics understand that despite developing an activity in principle antagonistic to what is understood as sustainable, he believes that there is great potential for action in this field in favor of society and caring for the planet even if it generates controversy.

“I do not intend to teach anyone, I simply believe that with individual actions we can improve a lot if we all work together, I understand that there are people who call me a hypocrite, but I am not going to worry about that either, I respect it and try to understand the point of view of those who do not agree with what I do, but racing in cars is my profession and my passion. Better than staying still avoiding being criticized, I prefer to do things that help improve the situation “.

It has all the logic of the reasoning of the four-time world champion. Do not forget that Formula 1 itself does much more for the environment than people imagine, since many of its innovations allow, for example, that the cars that we see on the street today are infinitely more efficient in terms of consumption than in the past, as well as much safer. However, communicating these achievements is still a great pending issue for this sport.

A great unknown contribution

The problem of the great ignorance of society about the environmental contribution of motor racing lies in the fear of the ‘establishment’ to take heart in issues of this type because, Vettel said as a hypocrite, the accusation of hypocrisy or ‘greenwashing’, an Anglo-Saxon term so deceptive. fashion in these matters that means putting the crap under an ‘ecological’ rug. And if Formula 1 has never communicated well in this matter or in matters of mobility, medicine, agriculture or architecture, riders like Sebastian Vettel or sports facilities like the Circuit de Catalunya have decided to grab the bull by the horns and get down to work to minimize evils and decisively promote everything that can be positive for the planet and society.

“When I made my first visit to Aston Martin, -explains the German pilot-, I realized from the moment I left my house until I finished my visit to the factory the amount of small details that could make all our activity much more sustainable, such as, for example, using fewer planes and more trains. , in some way avoid the amount of waste that we generate per day in water bottles, disposable coffee cups, fast food wrappers, etc. I think that Formula 1 has to take this whole issue very seriously, because otherwise it is going to have a difficult time in the future. ”

No sooner said than done. Aston Martin and many other teams have already introduced this year a series of protocols aimed at avoiding as much waste as possible, the indiscriminate use of plastics, as well as the promotion of reusable or recycled materials. We have also been able to see actions where ‘Seb’ and his team have gone hand in hand in two highly visible activities in the last great prizes, such as the creation of a ‘hotel for bees’ in the shape of a car, or garbage collection at the end of the British Grand Prix.

Montmeló has managed to be the continuous setting for the F1 and Moto Gp Grand Prix, and now adds its unique environmental status

Montmeló, a pioneer in sustainability

By the Circuit of Catalonia However, its commitment to sustainability goes back a long way, as much as since 2008, when a whole package of measures was introduced aimed at creating a facility and events as respectful as possible with the environment, as well as providing a positive contribution to society.

Recently, the ‘Sustainability Motorsport Index’, which is a report carried out by two prestigious environmental consultancies, Enovation and Right Hub. Of the approximately 600 permanent circuits that exist in the world, this report has analyzed the 90 most active. It is a recognition of the good work of the Catalan track that ‘the Circuit’ has been included among the three best tracks in the world in the sustainability section, sharing a podium with Mugello and Paul Ricard. Since that distant 2008, it has been working tirelessly to pass the most demanding certifications such as ISO14001, as well as to develop activities that range from the improvement of the vegetation cover of the circuit to programs to reduce waste at events. In 2015, the FIA ​​awarded its managers with the first award of excellence, awarded to a Formula 1 track.

The Catalan track is also the scene of long-term cycling races

Seven qualification areas

The methodology of this report, which aims to encourage all organizations to improve their sustainability standards, revolves around the contribution that each circuit makes in environmental, social and economic matters.. The rating system is made through scoring in seven areas: official certifications, credentials of federative bodies, awards received, environmental performance, legacy to society, economic impact, sustainable activity approach and awareness raising capacity.

All the sections being important, the most tricky one and in which most of the circuits in the world still have a lot of work ahead of them is the environmental performance, which monitors waste management, energy efficiency, the proper use of natural resources such as water or wood, mobility plans and actions aimed at reducing the carbon footprint.

It is a source of pride for Spain that an installation in our country has ranked among the best in the world. I hope that all the politicians who support the track based in Montmeló understood in a flash of lucidity that, Sebastian Vettel, the best example is showing the way forward, as is also the case of the Catalan track in front of practically all the circuits in the world. Probably this indifference has its cause because those same politicians tend to be pending to put the Circuit de Catalunya in the public debate for the wrong reasons.

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