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Formula G Q&A with John Birrell

December 7, 2022

Carbon Positive Motorsport catches up with Formula G's championship Manager John Birrell

Now that the inaugural Formula G Championship season is over, Steve Smith, Director of Carbon Positive Motorsport talked to championship manager John Birrell to discover how 2022 has been.

John recently purchased Carbon Neutral offset of 1,180 litres of fuel - this was the amount of fuel used by his Formula G drivers in 2022. The total cost to offset the year's complete championship was only £165.20. It just goes to show, we can help anyone in motorsport to make a sustainable and promotable positive environmental impact for a relatively small investment.

Photo: Delta Pixels

CPM: John, how has has season #1 of the championship been?

JB: Taking on a championship with big boots to fill has been an incredible challenge! The most important thing is that all the competitors, teams, marshals and guests all had a great time, and the most rewarding part of organising a championship is seeing the smiles on faces. We introduced a few minor changes to the Championship for 2022, including offsetting our competition fuel use as we look to future-proof the series. We included this in the entry fees so as not to add to the cost of competition for our drivers, but also to ensure there was no option to opt in or out - we want to offset as much as we can! We've received some great feedback from the drivers and the team, and so we will look to build on what we've achieved this year to really polish how we operate to make it even better for 2023!

Photo: Saadat Jesper-Mir

CPM: What challenges did you have to overcome to get it up and running? JB: Our main challenge at the beginning of the year was securing venues. Over the pandemic, a lot of venues have tightened restrictions, especially around noise, making it difficult to accommodate us. Santa Pod is a permanent fixture on our calendar, as a de facto spiritual home of Formula G, and gaining MSUK affiliation meant access to MSV venues, too. We held our first MSV-hosted championship rounds at Brands Hatch, and everyone really enjoyed the change of scenery. Other challenges include learning the quirks of the timing system - we hadn't realised that it maxed out after 80 seconds or so, but now we know this, we can design our courses to stay under the one minute mark.

Photo: Sebastian Allan

CPM: What are your personal thoughts about offsetting your 1,180 litres, was it affordable? and how will it benefit the championship? JB: For 2022 we offset competition fuel usage, but as we embed the practice into the Championship we may look to extend that to travel and transport, too, as well as looking at other options to make motorsport more sustainable. We chose to offset for a number of reasons. First, it's the right thing to do. We have to balance our enjoyment of our hobby today, with the future enjoyment of our environment, and offsetting is a great first step in this regard. Secondly, moving towards making motorsport sustainable is the only way to ensure that we are able to compete for years to come and we want to be ahead of the curve on that one. Finally, it's surprisingly good value, especially since our sport is already fairly fuel efficient for drivers, so really there is no excuse given the benefits to the environment.

Photo: Sebastian Allan

CPM: What are your championship plans and goals for 23 JB: For 2023, it will be much of the same - we are looking to maintain the amazing atmosphere in the paddock, the friendly competition that drivers enjoy, as well as the great sportsmanship that is a given in Formula G. Most important is to keep it fun, safe and affordable for those wishing to take part. To do that, we are taking on board all the feedback competitors have given us, good, bad or ugly, and acting on it, and working with our sponsors and supporters to make sure everyone gets great value out of the sport.

Photo: Saadat Jesper-Mir

We are also trialling a novice-only day at Brands Hatch on 17 December 2022 and if that is successful will look to run more taster days in the future. You can contact John below for more details on Formula G:

It only costs a little to make a big difference for the sport, so whether you're a competitor or spectator, why not join with us to help make motorsport sustainable.

To become Carbon Positive yourself, visit our website


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