F1 in spotlight for ‘misleading’ fans with sustainable fuels amid climate crisis – The Mirror

F1 in spotlight for ‘misleading’ fans with sustainable fuels amid climate crisis – The Mirror

Formula 1 global partner Saudi Aramco has been promoting its efforts to produce more sustainable fuels, but environmental campaigners believe their efforts amount to greenwashing


Aramco is closely tied to F1

Formula 1 sponsor Saudi Aramco is being accused of making “misleading” environmental claims to greenwash its reputation.

Aramco, which is 95 per cent owned by the Saudi Arabian state, is the world’s biggest oil company and a global partner of F1, as well as strategic partner of the Aston Martin F1 team. The energy giant made a record £134billion profit in 2022 and has used its vast wealth to advertise to the estimated 1.56bn F1 fans worldwide.

The way it does so has now been put under the spotlight after complaints were submitted to the UK’s Advertising Standards Agency and the Dutch regulator. Environmental campaigners claim that Aramco has been guilty of a “confusing use of terminology” and “misleading environmental claims” in promoting its ‘advanced’ and ‘low carbon fuels’.

The New Weather Institute, who have submitted the complaint to the ASA, have gone after F1 following a significant victory in football. Back in June, the Swiss regulator ruled that FIFA had misled fans by claiming that the Qatar World Cup would be carbon neutral after a complaint was filed.

Now the campaigners are arguing that Aramco’s much-touted alternative fuels are not “a real, scalable solution” to the climate crisis because they require vast amounts of energy to produce. They also accuse Aramco of greenwashing because its adverts around F1 focus on alternative fuels while obscuring the fact that the company is still very much reliant on oil production.

Andrew Simms, co-director of the New Weather Institute, said: “F1 is renowned for speed, but allowing Saudi Aramco to pull a fast one on sports fans by using their brand to spread misleading information will only put the brakes on the transition to clean energy and clean air.

“Saudi Aramco repeatedly acts to keep the world locked in a fossil fuel trap raising roadblocks to climate progress. In the final lap of the fight against climate breakdown, we need a red light to stop these corporations from confusing, misleading and ultimately delaying the climate action we need to accelerate.”

Aramco sponsor F1 team Aston Martin


David Buono/Getty Images)

Aston Martin F1 deferred to Aramco, who did not respond to a request for comment, but F1 defended the partnership on their behalf. The organisation believes it has a duty to explore alternative fuels and ‘strongly believes’ those being worked on by Aramco can be carbon neutral.

An F1 spokesperson told Mirror Sport: “We have set a target to be net zero carbon by 2030 both on and off the track. One action we are taking is to move to advanced sustainable fuels, that will be carbon neutral, in the Formula 1 hybrid power unit in 2026.

“We believe that the fuel could have a significant benefit for the wider automotive sector particularly by being used as a drop-in fuel in existing ICE [Internal Combustion Engine] road vehicles and could dramatically reduce global automotive emissions at a time when conventional cars still exist and are produced on a significant scale – a point we have been keen to proactively highlight.

“F1 has always pioneered new technologies that have been vital in road car advancement and all the teams in F1 are working with different fuel suppliers to create the fuels for 2026. At F1 we have undertaken extensive research, including an Oxford University reviewed report to show the benefits that a sustainably-fuelled hybrid vehicle can bring to automotive emission reductions.”