As McLaren releases its annual Sustainability Report, Zak Brown has called on the sport’s powers that be to amend the budget cap rules in order to aid the ongoing sustainability drive.
With immaculate timing, the Woking outfit releases its report as the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola is cancelled due to widespread flooding in the region which has led to a number of deaths and the devastation of homes and businesses, with as many as two dozen towns flooded out and over 12,000 people displaced.
Brown has called on the teams to work alongside F1 and the FIA to help create a regulatory framework that better enables investment and innovation in sustainability without compromising performance. As part of this, the McLaren CEO believes changes need to be made to the budget cap regulations in order that teams can promote sustainability without compromising performance.
Now in its third year the cap currently sits at $135m with certain exceptions, such as drivers salaries and those of (three) leading employees in addition to promotional work and utility costs.
“We strongly believe in the cost cap and wouldn’t want to see anything that undermines its integrity,” said Brown, “but current regulations have created some unintended barriers when it comes to investing in sustainability.
“It’s been fantastic to see so much support from F1 and other teams on this issue,” he added, “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.
“Our sport needs a clear regulatory framework with financial, technical and sporting regulations that better enable us all to innovate and invest in sustainability. We need to find better ways to share expertise and insights across our industry. Only true collaboration will help us drive meaningful change. And if we want to achieve a step change with the new set of 2026 regulations, then those decisions need to be made now.”
“Our mission to ‘set the standard for performance in sport’ applies to sustainability as much as it applies to our on-track performance,” added McLaren’s sustainability director, Kim Wilson. “And as the only racing team to participate in F1, IndyCar, Formula E and Extreme E as well as eSports we have a unique opportunity to foster innovation and cross-learning across our sport to accelerate the changes needed to positively address our economic, environmental and social impacts.
“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.”