Lewis Hamilton to become carbon neutral, as F1 plans to cut environmental impact

Lewis Hamilton says he's vegan, drives an electric Smart car and has banned plastic in his home as he aims to become carbon neutral, but draws the line at Formula E


Hamilton arrives for the Mexican GP weekend

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Lewis Hamilton has said that he plans to be carbon neutral by the end of the year, as he revealed that Formula 1 was putting together new proposals to make the sport more environmentally-friendly.

The World Championship leader described the measures that he has taken to cut his carbon footprint, which include driving a tiny Smart electric car and selling his private jet last year.

He also said that he had banned plastic in his home and office, telling a press conference ahead of the Mexican Grand Prix: “I want everything recyclable down to deodorant [and] toothbrush.”

However, he drew the line at driving in the electric Formula E series. “I have no interest whatsoever to do Formula E,” he said.

Hamilton told media that he was expecting F1 officials to circulate plans for a greener sport this weekend.

“Our sport has shifted,” he said; we use a third less fuel now. There is more that Formula 1 can do. We have to push Formula 1 to do more; they are putting plans together… I think they are giving us a proposal later on for the plans they have in place and we’ll do whatever we can to support that.”

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The Mercedes driver’s eco-credentials came under the spotlight last week, when he posted a series of messages on Instagram, urging followers to go vegan and criticising the environmental impact of the meat and dairy industry. He said that they were a reaction to watching a documentary.

“Honestly, I feel like giving up on everything,” he wrote. “Shut down completely. Why bother when the world is such a mess and people don’t seem to care.”

He faced heavy criticism for his comments, largely because of the jet-setting requirements of F1. But he said that he was doing everything that he could, which included pressing F1 and Mercedes to make the sport and the car industry more eco-friendly.

“Yes we are travelling around the world, yes we are racing F1 cars,” he said. “Our carbon footprint is larger than the average homeowner [but] you shouldn’t be afraid to speak out for something that can be a positive change.

“I’m trying to fly less through the year and mostly flying commercial. That has been a big change in my habits… I’ve gone to stay at Bedfordshire with the family instead of flying everywhere.

“Obviously I’ve changed my diet [to become vegan] which is quite a drastic difference.

“I have a new Smart electric car at home; I’ve sold several of my cars.” In addition to the Smart, Hamilton revealed that he is replacing the three Mercedes he has in America with electric Mercedes EQC SUVs.


Hamilton’s new car: an electric Smart


He said that the Mercedes F1 team was moving to become carbon neutral, and that he was working with them to reduce the amount of plastic used in the canteen.

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The Mercedes road car division is also on the receiving end of Hamilton’s activism; he’s pushing them to offer more non-leather interior alternatives.

“I feel positive I’m making those changes,” he said. “I don’t know what more I can do at the moment.”

Hamilton was backed up by Sebastian Vettel in the same press conference. “We do have to travel as part of our jobs but in general F1 I feel should do more,” said the Ferrari driver.

“We should send a much stringent message regarding this subject. I think everybody can contribute a little bit and if the whole world would do that, it would make a huge difference.”