McLaren call for FIA regulatory framework to pursue sustainability goals

Sustainable investment included in F1’s cost cap regulations.
  • F1’s cost cap regulations do not exclude any investment towards sustainability objectives
  • 22% reduction in GHG emissions since 2019
  • Underrepresented backgrounds make up 33% of new starters

McLaren Racing have called for the International Automobile Federation (FIA) and Formula One to work together with teams to create a regulatory framework in the pursuit of wider sustainability goals, as part of its latest sustainability report.

The goal of increased industry collaboration would be to enable more focused investment and innovation, especially in light of the current cost cap regulations. 

In light of this, the organisation is calling for a set of comprehensive cost cap exclusions that support investment in sustainability projects and initiatives. This includes initiatives diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as training. Also excluded from the cost cap are team wellbeing initiatives, as well as fundung for junior staff programmes to help provide pathways into motorsport and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers.

McLaren's sustainability report points out that this needs to be achieved ‘without compromising the integrity of the cost cap’, a crucial area following the minor breach of the regulations by Red Bull Racing last season.

The Woking-based team would also like to see the technical regulations adapted to encourage the use of more sustainable materials, as well as processes to support the research and development of a fully circular Formula One car, a goal which McLaren Racing laid out in its inaugural sustainability report.

With the Concorde Agreement set for renewal after 2025, McLaren Racing has also called for clear sustainability criteria to be implemented so that core requirements are outlined for race calendars, paddocks and motorhomes. This would then also extend to clear parameters for promoters and competition organisers to follow.

“We strongly believe in the cost cap and wouldn’t want to see anything that undermines its integrity, but current regulations have created some unintended barriers when it comes to investing in sustainability,” said Zak Brown, chief executive of McLaren Racing.

“It’s been fantastic to see so much support from F1 and other teams on this issue, and we’re delighted that the FIA has established a working group to explore next steps. But to unlock our sport’s potential to drive the development of more sustainable technologies that can spark positive changes on a global scale, we need a genuine step change.

“That requires a level playing field so teams can work towards achieving the same targets and no longer need to choose between investing in car performance and investing in sustainability.”

Kim Wilson, director of sustainability for McLaren Racing, added: “While as a team, we can point to significant progress in delivering operational improvements across our four sustainability pillars last year, I hope that we are demonstrating through our actions that we are willing to experiment and share our learnings with other teams, our regulators and stakeholders.

“It is now time for accelerated action and industry-wide collaboration that drives meaningful change in the next few years.” 

The sustainability report also outlines McLaren’s current progress, with highlights including a 22 per cent reduction in GHG emissions against the 2019 baseline and a nine per cent reduction in air freight emissions due to a greater focus on sea freight.

The lighting at the McLaren Technology Centre has also been converted to LEDs, which saves enough energy to power 100 average UK homes for a whole year.

The organisation has also cut out single-use plastics, which has contributed to a wider 19 per cent reduction in total waste compared to 2021, including zero waste being sent to landfill.

Finally, in pursuit of its diversity, equity and inclusion goals, McLaren saw 33 per cent of its new starters come from underrepresented backgrounds.

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