Formula One has never been about a direct progression from track to street, but its relevance has rarely been lower than in recent years. In an effort to scrabble back some relationship to what's going on in the outside world and at the same time improve its image with the eco-conscious, the Formula One Teams Association has announced a carbon emissions reduction program.

The program will be measured by an external audit team from Trucost, an environmental research and analysis organization. The audit will measure the effectiveness of measures taken to reduce carbon emissions from F1 testing and racing. The FOTA says that measures already taken to "improve efficiencies and restrict resources" and additional measures planned for the future will help the series cut its total carbon output by 12.4 percent by 2012, when compared to the 2009 season.

“Formula One is fundamentally about efficiency – how to squeeze performance within the restrictions of physics and the rules... We also believe that the engineering excellence that exists within Formula One will have a part to play in the inevitable shift to more carbon efficient transportation," said Simon Thomas, CEO of Trucost. What form that technology will take, and whether it will successfully transition to road cars in an acceptable time frame, remains to be seen.

The FOTA is already working with the FIA to write new powertrain rules for 2013 that will incorporate some form of fuel-saving technology. Turbocharging, KERS, and other technologies could be on the docket, though no firm plans have emerged yet.

[FOTA, Ferrari]