Green Notebook in front of a Christmas Tree

The other day, it being wonderfully quiet in my world, I tried to figure out whether having a Christmas tree was a good idea for the world. Despite being involved in that nasty Formula 1 business, I do think about such things – and I will happily fight any environmentalist who suggests that the sport is bad for the human race. It is an easy target, of course, because everyone says cars are bad. But then, using that argument, so are cows, because they fart and belch so much methane out into the atmosphere that we should stop eating them and thus we would not need so many. Although I read somewhere that if we feed them seaweed, methane emissions could reduce dramatically so we don’t all need to become vegetarians.

I ended up with no sensible conclusion relating to Christmas trees, although there were all kinds of stories saying that it is disgraceful to have a Christmas tree, to eat turkey and to wrap presents. You name it, everything we do at Christmas is bad. Disgraceful. Mind you, religious folk and the shop-owners would all be very upset if we stopped having Christmas, wouldn’t they? And, frankly, so would I, because without the Christmas break, Stefano and his gang would start scheduling Grands Prix in December and January, on the basis that Formula 1 used to do that in the old days… (and because it would help the share price). A break is needed from time to time.

In the end, I strayed off the original subject (as you do) and found myself looking up a different question: why do we even have Christmas trees? That was a lot more interesting.

The thing is that in the short days of the midwinter, when night falls in the middle of the afternoon, humans get rather depressed. The midwinter reaches its nadir on December 21, the winter solstice, after which the days start getting longer again. Back in pagan times, during the darkest days, they used to put evergreen plants that bore “fruit” in the winter (holly, ivy, mistletoe etc) in the houses, to get a bit of colour and to remind themselves that happier times were ahead. These were the signs that life would be renewed… and that there were better times ahead. I guess it is a bit like all the F1 review programmes one gets at Christmas, which remind us that motor racing will start again when the winter is over.

Various nations claim to have invented Christmas trees. In Riga, Latvia, there is even a stone monument which declares that it is the site of the first public Christmas tree. But there is disagreement. The Romans, for example, used fir trees to decorate their temples for Saturnalia, but by definition these were not Christmas trees. The Germans had the paradeisbaum, but this related to a different festival, the feast of Adam and Eve, which they celebrated with mystery plays (the mystery, presumably, being how Cain and Abel had children without sleeping with their sisters). A glittery tree was used to distract attention away from this troubling conundrum.

Anyway, the good news for the British anti-Christmas tree folk is that they can do their favourite thing and blame the Germans because decorating Christmas trees in the sense we know it today started in Saxony where, legend has it, the troublesome priest (read disrupter if you are a millennial person) Martin Luther caused all sorts of upheaval by marrying a runaway nun and leading a movement that protested against the way the Catholic church did things. These protestants wanted new things and not all the bells and smells. But they all disagreed and so fragmented into different churches. During this process Luther was inspired, one day in 1536, to invent Christmas decorations, when walking through a pine forest near Wittenberg and seeing the starry night sky through the branches of some fir trees. So, not caring much about the environment, he cut a small one down, took it home, put candles in it and… voila! It soon caught on, although thousands have died over the years because their candles set fire to their trees/houses/bodies.

In grumpy Britain, Oliver Cromwell complained about the “heathen traditions” of decorated trees, because he thought Christmas was supposed to be a solemn event… (Give that man a drink…)

Scrolling quickly on through history we meet more Germanic influence in the person of Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the wife of George III, who introduced the Christmas tree to England. Later Queen Victoria made Prince Albert happy with Christmas trees and the idea became popular when a sketch appeared in the Illustrated London News (left), after which everyone wanted a tree at Christmas… She was a great social influencer. These days, 300 million Christmas trees are chopped down each year, although as it takes between six and 10 years to grow each one, this means a lot of carbon dioxide is absorbed before the trees are needlessly felled. Having said that, studies show that artificial Christmas trees must be used for 12 years before the emissions required to produce them match the emissions created by growing and supplying real trees…

I have to admit that I’m an artificial Christmas tree person because the tree always looks good, there are no annoying pine needles and you don’t have to find a way to get rid of the whole thing after the holidays are over. After Twelfth Night, you just pack it away and get on with life, waiting for the 12th year, after which one can feel virtuous as well…

I had similar thoughts during the New Year celebrations when I watched cities all over the world having firework displays. Paris, I read, blew up a third of a ton of explosives to celebrate the start of 2023. People fly off to foreign parts to see the New Year in Sydney or New York, while others fly in to watch the action in London or Paris. This year, so the authorities claimed, Paris attracted a crowd of a million, right down the Champs-Élysées, to celebrate the first fireworks for two years. It looked quite impressive. Normally the number is about a quarter of that. But how can this be good for the world? All these people had to get there somehow… by cars, planes and trains. I doubt many came by bicycle or riding horses.

Blowing things up to make pretty lights in the sky and pumping out massive emissions is deemed to be acceptable by Paris’s mayor, Annie Hildalgo, although she will not consider the idea of having a Grand Prix in Paris. Formula E was deemed to be OK, because Alejandro Agag and Jean Todt told her that the cars were green, although they may not have mentioned the diesel generators that I saw being used to power the batteries when I visited that first race. Anyway, Ms Hidalgo has been hoping to turn Paris into a New Age Garden of Eden by driving away cars, not literally (you get arrested for that), but rather by closing down access, creating daft one way systems, carefully phasing traffic lights to delay everything and all the other stuff that leads to driver insanity. I presume that she does this to save the planet but also in the hope that one day she will be able to ride her bicycle into the Elysees Palace as President (the title is an office or position and does not specify gender). She tried in 2022 and the result was a catastrophic 1.7 percent of the vote in the first round, which means that she probably won’t get a second chance.

Formula E left Paris pretty quickly (as it does in quite a few cities) but the French Grand Prix, which needs to be in a big city, is now dying. This is a shame. In part because it is now my home race and in part because the country is key in the history of the sport and the automobile industry. The words “Grand Prix” and “automobile” are French.

Just before Christmas there was a meeting to dissolve the F1 promoter, known as GIP Grand Prix de France, but this was delayed because they need to figure out who is going to settle €27 million of debts. This will be shared between various local and regional bodies in the south, but the race gave the region a huge economic benefit in the course of its recent life, although no-one ever seems to take these things not account.

The problem that F1 has with governments is that people never really seem to explain to the politicians (or they don’t want to hear the explanation) about just how important hybrid cars are for the next 30-odd years and how incredible the progress made by F1 in terms of hybrid technology has been. The politicians vote through stuff that looks right, in the knowledge that they will no longer be around when things don’t work out. Banning the sale of all non-electric new cars in the European Union in 2035, a policy agreed last year, was surprising, and now the industry and academics are pushing back, arguing that the implications of this will be disastrous. The new rule does not mean that all cars have to be electric in 2035, but rather that one can no longer sell new hybrids.

Right now, the average life of a car is 15 years and so, the argument goes, the hybrids and traditional internal combustion engine cars will all be gone by 2050 and by then the technology will exist to produce and maintain electric cars at reasonable prices. The industry says no.

Things have changed quite a lot recently (which gives the EU politician a useful loophole) because of the economic troubles that have followed COVID and the war in Ukraine. Electricity prices have gone crazy, which means that electric cars are no longer as cost-efficient as petrol cars, not that there are sufficient power stations to create the power needed.

The price of batteries is not coming down because of the vast hike in the prices of the exotic metals needed. Lithium, for example, now costs around 10 times what it did two years ago. The prices of nickel, cobalt, copper and other similar metals have all increased significantly as well. And that means electric car prices have gone up accordingly. The car companies are warning that if the law remains unchanged the industry in Europe will become uncompetitive compared to the Chinese, jobs will be lost and whole sectors of society will not be able to afford new cars.

You don’t need to be an entrepreneur to see that between now and 2035 there will likely be companies buying and stockpiling hybrid cars, which will be sold as secondhand cars after 2035 at a big profit. In addition, people who do not trust electric cars will go on driving their current cars for longer, which means that the roads will be filled with not very efficient old cars for many years to come.

Back in October Carlos Tavares, the boss of Stellantis, said that it was essential for the ban to be altered to allow hybrid cars to be sold as a transitional solution on the path to full electric cars.

“The dogmatic decision that was taken to ban the sale of thermal vehicles in 2035 has social consequences that are not manageable,” he said.

More recently Toyota President Akio Toyoda said the auto industry’s silent majority is now starting to question the whole future of electric vehicles because they will price average earners out of the market. The numbers are not adding up. Saying anything that goes against the current is, of course, condemned by the green folk.

In the circumstances, I would guess that there will have to be some compromise, with the likelihood being that the ban will be diluted to allow full hybrids to be sold for a number of years more, which would give the industry time to find solutions for cost-effective emission-free transportation. In the meantime, governments need to invest more in public transportation, to help convince people to get off the roads. Reviving old train routes is a good start, particularly in country areas, where electric cars will not be much use.

This is important stuff for the sport because having a bunch of bankrupt car companies is not going to help…

In the end, F1 will stay with its super-efficient hybrid engines from 2026 onwards, with synthetic fuels being developed to help reduce the impact. Races will switch more and more to urban areas with public transportation, in order to cut down on emissions, in pursuit of carbon neutrality. There was a brilliant argument the other day from Alejandro Soberon, the promoter of the Mexican Grand Prix, who said that while F1’s biggest problem has always been the impact of how the fans get to and from events, one can argue that perhaps the sport is already carbon neutral if one takes into account not the people attending events, but rather those who are NOT going out and staying at home to watch Grands Prix.

If one can calculate the emissions NOT created because of the TV viewers at home, it is easy to see how this might be used to present a serious claim that F1 is already emission-free. As I said, in reference to Christmas trees, there are lots of different arguments.

In any case, after 2031 F1 can change its rules if it believes it is out of sync with the world, although the chances are that the next major change may not come until 2035.

Anyway, back to the Christmas tree…

64 thoughts on “Green Notebook in front of a Christmas Tree

  1. I’m quite excited about Hydrogen powered cars, although I do seem to run up against a lot of Elon-fan boys who poo-poo the idea because they’re faux deity doesn’t have his hand on that lever.
    Joe, domyou feel there any movement in the industry to increase the production of hydrogen cars, and to that end, the infrastructure to go along with providing the resources for refueling etc?

      1. Found this on Chemistry Stack Exchange:

        “Incidentally, there are two established storage technologies for pure hydrogen in vehicles. One involves cooling the hydrogen below its critical temperature and liquifying it. The other stores it at ambient temperature, at pressures of 5000 to 10000 psi. In the ambient temperature cases they are not storing compressed hydrogen gas, but rather compressed supercritical hydrogen.”

        Neither technique would be inexpensive at this point…

      2. G’day Joe,
        Most (many) hydrogen vehicles will not be combustion. As a matter of fact the only project I know of is a British tractor manufacturer. Toyota on the other hand are concentrating on hydrogen fuel cells and are having some good success with everything from small cars, trucks, trains and even ships.
        A Co I invested in sold some ammonia technology to Toyota. You might like to read about it on their website. They are a good source for hydrogen tech info, btw.
        Also note that most or even almost all problems with hydrogen have been solved in the last decade.
        cheers, build

    1. You need a source of hydrogen. It can be produced from natural gas, but that’s not really any better than just burning natural gas. It can be produced through electrolysis of water, but that requires a lot of electricity. Burning coal to make electricity to make hydrogen is worse than burning natural gas, so you would need a huge increase in nuclear, solar, or wind generation to provide the hydrogen.

      Liquid hydrogen is not very dense, so you need a much larger tank than with gasoline for the same energy (about four times the volume, I believe). Instead of burning it in an internal combustion engine, it can be used in a fuel cell to produce electricity, so a plug-in hybrid with a fuel cell as a range extender makes a lot more sense. Overall, after converting electricity to hydrogen, then converting the hydrogen back to electricity, you will have lost at least 50% of your energy input to conversion losses, so hydrogen is not the simple solution that many people assume.

      Having a plug-in hybrid with a battery range of maybe 50 km will cover the majority of commuting driving, then a hydrogen fuel cell as a range extender would allow for longer trips. Cruising at steady speed on the flat doesn’t require a lot of engine power so the fuel cell would only have to produce a steady 20 KW of output to keep the battery charged up. This would only be practical if the cost of the hydrogen fuel cell system was cheaper than the savings you would make from being able to reduce the battery size by 80%.

      Much smarter people than me have been looking at these things for many years. The reason hydrogen vehicles aren’t common is that the technology and economics are tricky. Maybe not impossible, but not the simple replacement for gasoline that many people imagine.

  2. I am with you on hybrids, I drive a hybrid Honda Accord and to me I lose nothing over a gasoline powered Honda Accord. To me they make more sense, no drag on the electric grid, great mileage with infinite range, as long as there is fuel available. The car is advertised as getting 48 MPG and it achieves about 47 with no pain. Perhaps it is a transitional vehicle until they produce clean, cost efficient batteries, but that is some way down the road. I think the ENTZ electric boat is a good example of how hydrogen will be used in the future, power a fuel cell with Hydrogen, electric drives and you are done. The output is power and water. What the world really needs is a simple, cost effective. clean way to split water.

    1. ” What the world really needs is a simple, cost effective. clean way to split water.”

      This doesn’t happen by magic. You need electricity to produce hydrogen from water. You will lose 20% of your energy input in the conversion process. Then you will lose another 50% when you use the hydrogen at the other end. This means that the energy output from hydrogen will always be two or three times the price of electricity.

      What you are really saying is that we need a clean, cost effective source of electricity. In the 1950s, people thought nuclear fission would provide that. It didn’t. Nuclear fusion might, but that’s not at all certain and is still decades away at best. At worst, fusion might never become commercially viable.

      1. G’day mark,
        I strongly suggest you update your data. You can get the accurate data from the Toyota website. It’s very easy to find.

        1. Seeing as you’ve already looked at Toyota’s claims, it would be useful for other readers if you explained which details you think I’m wrong about.

          There is a fundamental physical constraint in that every time you convert energy from one form to another, you lose some energy to waste. Converting electricity to hydrogen and then converting the hydrogen back to electricity will always involve losing a large percentage of your initial energy input. Charging a battery from a hydrogen fuel cell will always cost more than charging it from the grid.

          On top of that, hydrogen distribution infrastructure will always be more expensive than natural gas infrastructure, plus there is the cost of the fuel cell and tanks within the vehicle. That stuff needs to be aerospace grade engineering because hydrogen is so difficult to handle. Hydrogen might well become the dominant technology, but the idea that it will be cheap is just a fantasy because there are fundamental limitations on physics and engineering.

  3. I look forward to the Green Notebook and am never disappointed. This one was a New Year’s Tour de Force… from Christmas trees to end. Thank you.

    Being somewhat cheap at times, I had unsubscribed to GrandPrix Plus. That error has been rectified and those responsible have been sacked. Happy New Year!

  4. Joe, you pretty much nailed it. It is quite telling that the most successful car builder in the world is very wary of all electric cars. It is so easy for politicians to bluster and make big pronouncements, but they are piss-poor at execution. If your country is not currently littered with bulldozers building power generation and transmission capacity, it is a safe bet they do not have enough juice coming on line in time to power these cars they have mandated.

    Thankfully, we have the Formula E experience now, so that F1 does not even consider all electrics.

  5. Regarding Charlotte, this from Wikipedia about Charlotte, North Carolina:

    Nicknamed the “Queen City”, like its county a few years earlier, Charlotte was named in honor of German princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, who had become the Queen Consort of Great Britain and Ireland in 1761, seven years before the town’s incorporation.

    Who Know?

  6. Happy New Year, Joe. Finally found the resolve to watch Drive to Survive 2021 this Christmas and had to laugh at your ‘no biting or scratching’ comment to Toto, en route to a joint presser with Christian. Roll on a more competitive Mercedes in 2023.

  7. No mention of Mohammed Ben Sulayem saying he was talking to his team about starting the process to allow new teams to join the grid?

  8. Lang May Yer Lum Reek in 2023.
    Thanks for dong these notes.
    I have ordered 2 of your books as way of a Thank You.

  9. Joe, Talking of New York and Sydney. What are the chances of the GP going across the Coat Hangar? And, the Central Park GP. perhaps you could investigate these and publish in early April ?

  10. Here in the UK I can get a brand new 200-mile-range BEV, specifically an MG4 hatchback, on PCP for £200/month plus £5000 upfront for 24 months with 10,000 miles of annual mileage.

    This is roughly the same as a Ford Fiesta.

    Meanwhile 8-year-old Renault Zoe’s sell for £8000 which is also roughly the cost of an 8-year-old Ford Fiesta.

    So I’m not sure it’s even true that BEVs are unaffordable now; certainly it looks like there will be a wide range of affordable BEVs — both new and pre-owned — entering the market in the next ten years.

    1. £8k for a knackered old Fiesta? Pull the other one… My 6 year old V40 isn’t worth that much.

      I am seeing more and more MGs on the road, but I get the impression they are the electric equivalents of a Dacia, while for that money you’d be more in BMW / Merc territory.

      One thing that did surprise me is that second hand Polestars are no cheaper – and in some cases more expensive – than new ones. That I feel is the main issue with the average person getting in to BEVs, with traditional cars you can often pick up 1-2 year old models for half to two-thirds the new price. Not so with BEVs.

      1. None of this is true.

        Ford Fiestas from 2015-2017 do trade for £7000-£9000:

        While it was true that petrol-powered Chinese MGs got terrible reviews, going electric has eliminated the legacy advantage European manufacturers had over the Chinese. The MG4 is very well reviewed (e.g. and with a cash-price of £25K is roughly the same as a mid-range (Titanium/6-speed) Fiesta at £24K and cheaper than a minimum-spec BMW 1-series (£28K) or a Mercedes A-Class (£32K)

        The Polestar 2 is a relatively new car, and still supply limited (with up to 6-month waiting lists for custom orders: The lack of new supply makes for a lack of second-hand supply which — when combined with demand — is why prices aren’t falling.

        Where supply is not constrained, BEVs do drop in price like any other car. I quoted Renault Zoe prices above, but even second-hand Tesla Model S’s with more than 30K miles go for 33% discount at about £35-£40K: .

        1. Interesting how the default these days is to accuse people of peddling lies rather than remarking they may be mistaken…

          I must admit second hand prices are a lot different to what I’d seen a year or two back, although £8k for a Fiesta is towards the top end. I was surprised my V40 is only worth £4-5k less than I paid for it at 9 months old.

          The MG gets reasonable reviews but they point to fit and finish issues which do align more with the lower half of the market.

          Interesting that VW are talking about dropping the Polo as the new Euro VII rules make budget cars uneconomical to make.

    1. The number of cows in the UK could fall dramatically as farming becomes non viable. The rise in price of animal feed for dairy and for arable, the banning of weed killers and sky high fertiliser cost make production vastly more expensive, while the revenue realised is held down by the major buying groups and supermarkets. Many farms will go out of business. We will import food from other countries while our farms become extinct. (I blame Tony Blair!)

      1. G’day rpaco,
        I’m an Aussie farmer. We will adjust, we’re very good at that, it’s part of farming, we are very used to it. Food prices are going through the roof for a number of reasons at the moment (not all are covered honestly by the media) so this calendar year our farm will break all our own records for yields and price so a record profit.
        At the other end of the line people will be paying top dollar for those high demand products like beef and grains. Us farmers will survive, the average Joe’s budget might not. It’s the consumer who will suffer.

        That said I strongly recommend Aussie grass fed wagyu beef, it’s delicious and good value despite the price and it supports struggling Aussie farmers.

        1. I watch Harrys (Harry Metcalfe he of EVO Magazine fame) farm on youtube. To me the biggest challenge that is facing UK farmers is that a lot of viable farmland is being turned into grassland for insects, birds and those kinds of things, but you can’t keep livestock on them. This is a government project that the farmers sign up for and get a fixed price per acre that makes financial sense to the farmers so they stop farming. This means that not only is their less land for arable and livestock crops, all the crops to replace them have to come from somewhere so the transport costs increase and therefor the environmental impact and food security that is starting to be a thing. Anywho, it’s is well worth looking at some of Harrys vids on the matter and his other content as it gives you a greater sense of what it is like to be a modern day farmer in the UK.

          1. I had a look at “More solar panels get installed plus why New Zealand’s proposed carbon tax on cows is wrong”. But could not find anything else. Perhaps Joe would allow a link through ?
            cheers, build.

          2. TROZZ,
            You might enjoy: “Why JCB thinks hydrogen is the best alternative to diesel for heavy machinery, farming and HGV fleet”
            cheers, build.

        2. You do not have the supermarkets controlling the selling price in Aus then? There! We were told that the years of drought had virtually wiped out livestock farming in Southern Aus.
          Well best of luck mate!

          1. G’day,
            The supermarkets here try to dictate prices on beef but without much success as we have a huge export market willing to pay more. Also they are not big buyers of Grass Fed Wagyu or Barley. They did manage to drive most farmers away from dairy to what we’ve been doing for decades. This was a dairy farm.
            What you heard about droughts is totally wrong, we’ve been really spoilt with great rainfall for about a decade. We did have what we call a ‘Green Drought’ prior to that. We are running a third crop of barley this year so we’d expect a lower yield but we will break all our records. Some of that is good management but most is perfectly timed weather. Up north in NSW they’ve had flood problems, we haven’t seen droughts anywhere in Oz for a while.

            People forget that farmers have learnt to deal with weather. I’m very lucky, the previous owners son is my farm manager and they kept really good records of everything in fine detail in journals. He is a brilliant manager. I hope he doesn’t read this, he’ll ask for a bigger cut as he works on a profit share. I tell him it’s all in my sales and negotiating skills.
            cheers mate.

    2. G’day,
      I’m an Aussie farmer and familiar with that seaweed project as it’s been going on for well over a decade or two. There’s a heap wrong with the numbers, they simply don’t add up. Have a look at the ‘Weekly Times’ for the other side.
      cheers, build.

  11. I’m not sure Alejandro Soberon’s theory accounts for people like me, who watch Grands Prix on TV, but first have to drive to somewhere that has access to Sky

  12. For three years while living in the UK we managed to source a living tree and at the end of the Christmas period we planted them in the garden. Not only did it start covering a real eye-sore on the boundary but it was also environmentally friendly. In our last year there we even managed to light the first tree up.

    I certainly agree with all other sentiments of the post, particularly around political hypocrisy. If we could turn what they talk into electricity!!!

    1. Someone planted a living tree in a previous property we had. Be aware they are real trees, and will grow real tall. Think about the location, as the previous green fingered owner clearly didn’t bother to, as it fouled the nearby telegraph pole, taking out both power and telephone in a storm.

      1. My tree this year was 2ft high, and is going in front of the house to be our forever Xmas tree. Planting it away from the house for foundations, not near power lines, etc, and I’ll crop it to stay about 8ft high when I google how to do that… then add the solar lights and I’ll be happy each year. Will also be a memory for my young son.

      2. I never realised a living tree would grow and needed to be positioned carefully.

        In my new garden I have 55 trees, sadly a real Christmas tree won’t grow in this climate

  13. It sounds as if Ms Hidalgo has something in common with our London Mayor Mr Sadiq Khan, who is hell bent upon making life impossible for motorists with his ULE Zone. (This in addition to the Congestion charge) is due to be extended to include what used to be most of Surrey and the “Home Counties” but has been swallowed over the years by the outward march of the Greater London boundary.
    Basically this means that a large number of cars in what are essentially all the suburbs surrounding London suddenly become liable for a daily charge of £12.50.

    As usual in the UK you will hear little about this until the fines for non-payment start arriving from 29th August 2023 (no doubt either in the middle of a record heatwave or incessant downpour) and calls for the removal of Mr Khan reach unprecedented volume.
    There were similar protests when the new additions to the Highway Code came into force. ( Written by someone who had spent a lot of time in Holland, but ignoring the fact that our roads are not designed the same way) Giving cyclists and pedestrians priority over vehicles, however the fuss seems to have died down now and everybody has carried on much as before. I mention this because the British public keeps its head firmly in the sand while new proposals and consultations are made, or notice given for new laws and only surfaces in indignant surprise, when it is directly affected.

  14. The only solution to our environmental problems is for those of us in the first world to use a lot less of everything. We, the minority, are the planet eaters and most of this group have made no real change to their lifestyle, nor are they willing to. The goal for most is big cars, big houses, big vacations and lots of pictures of the food they are going to throw out.

    No politician will get elected if they state the truth, so instead they appeal to the loudest group.

  15. I still think F1 is in denial on the environment because the energy and emission cost of transporting the whole circus (including your good self) to increasingly remote locations dwarfs everything else (and which they are very careful not to mention). The most environmental thing they could do would be to pull back to a 16 race schedule with sensible linking of events to minimise transport.
    But that of course would interfere with their real holy grail – profits

      1. So all of those 747 freighters and dozens of diesel trucks are going to run on synthetic fuel?
        The benefit of running 20 cars for a few hours over a weekend on synthetic fuel is so small in comparison to the overall CO2 emissions of the whole circus as to be laughable.
        Make it an experiment, make it test work for the future, make it a technical advance, but please don’t try to convince people that F1 is suddenly sustainable

      2. You have to admit Joe you do go to some remote locations, Mexico, the USA, Brazil, Australia, Japan, Italy are just a few that are generally bereft of any travel from anywhere.

        You need to go to those thriving countries where everyone is off to, Tuvalu, Fuji, St Helena, Port Stanley, Nepal.

        While I am not a green warrior, I think we do need to reduce our consumption, but just on engines alone if you look at the consequential impact on our cars through the thermal efficiency that has been achieved in less than 10 years, it shows how the sport is driving efficiency in the industry as a whole.

        You could always go to South Sudan too and have a swim in de Nile.

  16. ” there are no annoying pine needles and you don’t have to find a way to get rid of the whole thing after the holidays are over” – listening to the BBC today I heard a news item regarding eating your Christmas tree as an alternative way of disposal.

    Apparently if the needles are stripped they can be pounded and the juices extracted for all sorts of piny-herby-spicy flavourings, or a whole branch can be roasted, read burnt, and the result again pounded into a powder that can be added to – I do not know what, they did not elaborate, but it must be true, it was the BBC!?

    PS electric cars: by the time we have to, I won’t be able!
    Thanks for the seasonal Green Book and Happy New Year.

  17. Joe,

    Thanks for your chuckle about Christmas trees. It has been a grim Holiday season here, lost my spouse of 44 years just before Christmas.

    I will take any chuckle where I can.

    Can’t wait for the season to start. Nice distraction. For me. For you: work. Enjoy your holiday.

    1. My sincere condolences – I lost my wife of 30 years not so many years ago. albeit not at Christmas. I am afraid it will take time, but it does get better eventually.

      Now I have gone down Joe’s route & found a very nice French lady, so there is hope!

  18. Thinking about the Team 11 maths and the answer isn’t clear:

    Say currently $600 million of the F1 income is distributed to the 10 teams, average $60m each. When that gets split 11 ways, the average drops to $54m – a loss of $6m to each team. The $200m entry fee gives $20m each as compensation – which covers three years of that $6m loss.

    After that, the $600m needs to have reached $660m just for each team to be back at the opening $60m each distribution.

    So would the addition of ‘Team 11’ really deliver an additional $60m annual income from gate (already maxed), ticket price (already maxed) or TV fees? Seems doubtful.

    Good luck in 2023 Joe.

    1. It’s for F1 as CRH to grow the business (revenues) to account for the 60m USD dilution. As a listed company, that’s their modus operandi in any event.

      I think the gradual shift from traditional TV to on demand streaming will take care of that.

      1. Obviously Liberty / F1 will be doing that anyway.

        The question is: will the addition of Team 11 increase that trajectory sufficiently of itself?

        And the answer is not obvious.

  19. I’ve been thinking for a while that rather than Christmas, summer might be the better time for the F1 season break. Middle of the day on a sunny summer Sunday is a bad time for most TV viewers. You’d rather be outside, especially if you have a family. Winter, however, there are many more reasons to stay at home. Taking 10-12 weeks over the summer would seem much more fan friendly, as well as for the staff who could get a break during the summer. (Yes, I know the reverse would apply in the southern hemisphere, but F1 is predominantly north)

    Might also appeal more to the teams to have start and end of season races closer to home.

  20. Joe

    I’ve always thought that governments contribute more to global warming than any other venture including coal mining. Think of all those diplomatic conferences where individual politicians fly in all manner of aircraft ranging from Global Expresses to 747’s ( USA using two 747’s) that could transport literally thousands of people for the same amount of energy expended and carbon released and then think of all those lovely fighter jets flying around for no good reason – apart from the Ukrainian Air Force – other than give their pilots flight time, while those terrible gas guzzling airlines use simulators for the same purpose.

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