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Brown: F1 cost cap impeding sustainability progress

McLaren boss Zak Brown has called on Formula 1 and the FIA to do more to create a "genuine step change" in sustainability, with the cost cap creating "unintended barriers".

Zak Brown, CEO, McLaren Racing, in the team principals Press Conference

McLaren published its annual sustainability report on Thursday, with the team boasting significant improvements.

These include a 22% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from a 2019 baseline and a 19% reduction in total waste compared to 2019 with nothing sent to landfill.

F1 has made a significant sustainability push in recent years, with the world championship publicly targeting to be net zero carbon by 2030.

This effort also saw the introduction of a cost cap in 2021, but Brown believes this restriction is limiting progress.

"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 Brown.

"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."

This group consists of F1, the FIA and the 10 teams, and McLaren has "proactively championed" discussions to exclude certain environmental and sustainability projects from the cost cap.

Although an initial list of exclusions has been introduced, McLaren has further called for a set of comprehensive cost cap exclusions that support investment in sustainability projects and initiatives, without compromising the cap's integrity.

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

It has advocated the exclusion of:

- Diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and training

- Team well-being initiatives

- Costs for intern and apprentice programmes to help provide pathways into motorsport and STEM careers

Brown also wants to see technical regulations which actively encourage the adoption of more sustainable materials and processes, the introduction of clear sustainability criteria into the Concorde Agreement as well as clear requirements for promoters and organisers to meet certain sustainability standards.

"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," added Brown.

"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."

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