Copenhagen Formula 1 plan in doubt over municipal financing

Doubt has emerged over the viability of a plan for a Formula 1 Grand Prix to be held in Copenhagen due to apparent disagreements between the city’s municipality and the government over funding.

Copenhagen Formula 1 plan in doubt over municipal financing
An image from the Bahrain Grand Prix earlier this year. Photo: HOCH ZWEI/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images/Ritzau Scanpix

A statement was made by Finance Minister Kristian Jensen on Thursday following a meeting between Jensen and Copenhagen’s lord mayor Frank Jensen, newspaper Politiken reports.

“The government is prepared to put some money into the hosting of Formula 1 in Denmark. But we don't think it’s reasonable that the city where such a large event is to take place does not also contribute economically,” Kristian Jensen said.

The minister added that other Danish cities, including Odense, Herning and Horsens, have generally made significant financial contributions to their candidacies as hosts for sporting events such as the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France.

“We ask all cities to be a part [of funding] when a major sporting event is in town. So it is also fair for Copenhagen Municipality to do this,” the minister said to Politiken.

The Ministry of Finance is to officially inform the municipality that “if we are to continue on this path, we in the government expect Copenhagen Municipality to be prepared to contribute financially to the hosting of Formula 1 in Denmark,” according to the report.

The lord mayor has a one-vote majority on the city council to continue talks with the government and private investor Lars Seier Christensen and former minister Helge Sander, who are behind the plan to bring a Grand Prix to the Danish capital.

Opposition parties the Red-Green Alliance, Alternative, the Socialist People’s Party and the Social Liberals have all said they are opposed to a Formula 1 event in Copenhagen.

Several Social Democrat councillors have also expressed their scepticism over the plan, which would need municipal approval for the use of the city's roads, Ritzau reports.



Copenhagen to miss 2025 zero emissions target

Copenhagen will not reach its longstanding target of becoming CO2 emissions neutral by 2025.

Cyclists on Copenhagen's
Cyclists on Copenhagen's "Lille Langebro" bridge. The Danish capital has admitted to errors in emissions calculations and says it won't be climate neutral in 2025, a long-standing target. Photo by Febiyan on Unsplash

A city councillor told newspaper Jyllands-Posten that the city, which has long stated its aim of becoming the world’s first CO2-neutral capital, would not meet that target as scheduled.

“I won’t need to stand there in 2025 and say ‘hurrah, we’re CO2 neutral’, because I know that CO2 will still be emitted (then),” elected representative Ninna Hedeager Olsen of the Copenhagen Municipality environment section told Jyllands-Posten.

Tourist board Visit Denmark has previously used the emissions goal to market the city, while Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen named the target during the C40 climate summit when it was hosted by Copenhagen in 2019.

But the municipality has included wind energy produced in other municipalities in its calculations on energy sustainability, according to the newspaper report.

This means it effectively still emits CO2 overall.

The company which supplies energy to the city, Hofor, has erected windmills in a number of municipalities outside of Copenhagen. But the electricity produced by these windmills has been used in calculations of CO2 emissions in both Copenhagen and in the municipalities in which the windmills are actually located.

The replication of the energy production in data for different locations can “rightly” be said to be “cheating the scales”, according to Hedeager Olsen.

But that is not the only problem in calculations of the city’s emissions, she also admitted.

“There are loads of things that haven’t been counted,” she said.

The goal to become climate neutral by 2025 was first set by the city in 2012 in a climate plan adopted by the city government.

Copenhagen was the following year awarded the Cities Climate Leadership award for the plan.