• Business Business

Experts call out massive F1 sponsor for deceptive 'green technology': 'These adverts badly mislead motorsports fans and the wider public'

Environmentalists have filed complaints to advertising regulators.

Environmentalists have filed complaints to advertising regulators.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Formula One documentary series "Drive to Survive" has captured the attention of millions of viewers worldwide. 

However, DeSmog published an opinion piece by academic climate activists Freddie Daley and Andrew Simms about how one of F1's biggest sponsors has been misleading fans and the general public with false "green technology" claims while leaving out details about its dirty energy production. And the two say they're taking steps to put a stop to it. 

What's happening?

Saudi Aramco is a huge oil producer and prominent F1 sponsor creating greenwashing ad campaigns designed to fool people into believing it is a sustainable, eco-minded company. 

Through print and social media ads, the company promotes synthetic fuels that will not improve air pollution or benefit the environment. 

Daley and Simms said they have filed complaints to U.K. and Dutch advertising regulators based on Saudi Aramco's unsubstantiated and misleading claims. 

"In the complaints, we say that these adverts badly mislead motorsports fans and the wider public over the role so-called 'advanced' fuels will play in decarbonising road transport, and omit key information about Aramco's vast ongoing fossil fuel production," Daley and Simms wrote.

Why is F1's sponsorship concerning? 

The ad campaigns are concerning because Aramco is still deeply dependent on oil and produces approximately 10% of the world's oil. The company reported an average of 13.6 million barrels of oil production per day in 2022. 

The ads are designed to confuse and mislead motorsports fans into believing that Saudi Aramco is associated with sustainable innovation and progress. When in reality, the company is perpetuating automotive technologies that do not curb carbon pollution or reduce energy usage. 

Last year, the Guardian reported evidence of Aramco and other Saudi companies planning to get poor and developing countries hooked on oil and gas. 

What's being done about it?

The complaints filed to the documentary series' advertising regulators are a step in the right direction for illuminating the truth about corporate sponsorships and untruthful promotions. 

Yet it is up to us as environmental advocates to prevent companies from perpetuating false solutions to climate change issues to increase their profits. 

As a television viewer, assess advertisements with heightened scrutiny and educate yourself about greenwashing. If we all stay vigilant about the messaging we receive from advertisers while keeping up with the shows we enjoy, we can uncover the truth about climate change solutions and focus our attention on the real work to be done.

Join our free newsletter for cool news and actionable info that makes it easy to help yourself while helping the planet.

Cool Divider