F1 bans pre-race military fly-pasts but Red Arrows still clear for take-off

22 January 2022 - 10:40
By Reuters
The Red Arrows perform above the circuit before the F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone on July 18, 2021 in Northampton, England.
Image: Mark Thompson/Getty Images The Red Arrows perform above the circuit before the F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone on July 18, 2021 in Northampton, England.

Formula One will ban pre-race fly-pasts by military aircraft this season but Britain's Red Arrows display team will be exempt along with passenger jets using sustainable fuels.

Formula One said the decision was taken for environmental reasons, with the sport determined to reduce its carbon footprint.

Silverstone Circuit MD Stuart Pringle confirmed in a statement that the Red Arrows would remain part of the British Grand Prix build-up.

“The Red Arrows have played a significant part in entertaining motorsport fans since they first performed at the British Grand Prix in 1966 and I am pleased to say that Formula One has confirmed this much-loved tradition can continue at Silverstone in 2022,” he said.

“The Red Arrows, officially known as the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, are not classed as military aviation and, as such, do not fall into the category of those displays that will no longer be permitted at Formula One events.”

Italy's Corriere della Sera reported that the country's Frecce Tricolori would no longer feature at Imola and Monza this year, however.

The paper said some suspected Formula One wanted to remove displays that might be seen as shows of military power or propaganda.

Several races have regularly featured fly-pasts by fighter jets and commercial airliners.

Races in Abu Dhabi and Bahrain are sponsored by airlines Etihad and Gulf Air respectively with both using their Boeing 787 Dreamliners to highlight low-emission technology and sustainable fuel.

The Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring has also featured historic planes owned by the energy drink company's billionaire owner Dietrich Mateschitz.

Formula One is aiming to achieve a net zero-carbon footprint by 2030, with 100% sustainable fuels from 2026 when a new engine is introduced.

Nearly all cars were banned from September's Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort, with most fans either cycling to the coastal circuit west of Amsterdam or taking the train.