McLaren want Formula 1 to use the cost cap to encourage teams to improve the sustainability of their operations and encourage diversity.
Zak Brown, the CEO of McLaren Racing, says teams should be allowed to spend money outside of the cap on diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, team wellbeing schemes and programmes for interns and apprentices.
“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.”
Last month the FIA World Motor Sport Council agreed some sustainability initiatives will be excluded from the budget cap this year. This will be done “with particular focus on environmental concerns,” the FIA said.
Among the items which may be excluded from the cap are “costs associated with installing sustainable infrastructure, auditing and monitoring of competitors’ carbon footprint, donations to charities engaged in the promotion of environmental sustainability projects and carbon offset programmes.”
However Brown is keen to see the sport go further. “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,” he said. “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.”
McLaren called for sustainability requirements to be added to the Concorde Agreement and minimum standards for promoters and organisers. The FIA has an Environmental Accreditation programme and in 2022 McLaren was given the top three-star rating for the ninth year in a row.
The team also want to see changes to the technical rules which would encourage the use of more sustainable materials and processes. McLaren previously used a seat made from natural fibres in Lando Norris’ car in 2021. However the increased weight of alternatives to regular carbon fibre can make them an undesirable option.
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