The energy crisis that the world has been experiencing in recent months has had an impact on Formula 1 teams. The budget ceiling has been increased to compensate for inflation, but energy prices are also exploding for teams.
Toto Wolff, boss of Mercedes F1, explains that his team has tripled this item of expenditure in Brackley, and will thus create a solar farm to supply itself with green energy. It will also help align with F1’s carbon neutral targets.
“We have tripled our energy costs at Brackley” alarmed Wolff. « We’re talking millions of pounds, it’s gone from two to six million just for energy costs. And charters and airfreight have increased enormously. »
« I tried to see what we could do as a high-tech industry. We have positive momentum, and we’re going to build a massive solar farm to supply ourselves and others with energy. »
« Even though today we are powered by 100% green energy, the cost to be emission and CO2 neutral is high. We take someone else’s green energy because it there’s not enough. »
Helping the lowest salaries in the team
Wolff confirms that it is Mercedes F1 that will build this solar farm, with the aim of drastically reducing its energy costs. The cost will be high but the Austrian isn’t worried about recouping those expenses.
« That’s the plan. We’ve set ourselves some pretty ambitious goals. We’re going to build our own solar farm. We’ve spent over $1 million this year to offset sustainable aviation fuel and we’re going to continue to TO DO. »
« But the short to medium term goal is to have our own solar farm and pay it off over 20 years. With energy prices rising, you could say that the price evolution of energy will be much faster. »
However, it will take several months, if not years, for this farm to be operational and able to supply the Brackley factory with energy, and he takes the objectives in order: « We need to get all the board approvals first. »
Finally, Mercedes F1 will put in place a plan for its payroll, in order to help the lowest paid employees. Wolff confirms that the objective is to allow them to maintain good purchasing power.
“As far as our staff is concerned, we understand that especially the lowest earners are under extreme pressure because energy costs represent a large part of their income. We will react and find ways to compensate for the loss relative purchasing power.