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McLaren calls for budget cap changes to aid sustainability


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."


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1. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 21/05/2023 0:59

Sorry about that error and thanks for the correction."

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2. Posted by Editor, 19/05/2023 21:55

"@ Bill Hopgood

Forgive me for correcting you, but "follow the money", was the late, great Dr Mike Lawrence's rallying cry."

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3. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 19/05/2023 19:27

"In defence of McLaren and all the other teams with their "sustainability" and virtue signalling.

If the teams do not go down the ESG path they are unlikely to attract the sponsors they need to part fund the budget.

Coka Cola is so sensitive to the likes of ESG that they force their supply chain to also be part of the same movement, all the way through to professional services such as business advisors.

So, McLaren will "play the game" and do whatever it takes to make sure the appear to be doing whatever is necessary.

No matter how ludicrous the situation is of travelling all over the world to put two cars on track for three days a weekend for our entertainment, then turning round and saying how green the company is.

As Christian Sylt says "follow the money"."

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4. Posted by Superbird70, 19/05/2023 12:57

"McLaren seem to have adapted the script from "The Producers", by taking in investors into all these side projects they can make more money by producing a flop than being a front runner. Kudos to accountant Bloom."

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5. Posted by estoril85, 19/05/2023 12:53

"What would Ron Dennis be doing to address the slump in performance? A good place to start.

They currently have who i consider to be the best current F1 driver in Lando Norris, they need to give him a car deserving of his talent before he gets one elsewhere."

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6. Posted by kenji, 19/05/2023 10:13

"Memo to Zak Brown, Isn't it about time to focus all your energies [yes,ALL ] on the job at hand...building a better car so that your drivers are at least delivered up a competitive car. Forget all the associated four pillars of wisdom, flim flam and hoo har garnished with rodeo sauce, what ever that is! Just do it


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7. Posted by Max Noble, 19/05/2023 8:48

"@Tardis40 - Quite! We demand a budget cap to limit spending… over… here… while we demand budget freedom to spend like drunken kittens in a fresh fish shop… over… here..

I believe you’ll find one of his alchemists, sorry I mean Arch-Accountants has found new and delightful ways to categorise “sportingly useful spending” as “lighter, greener” spending…

Otherwise as others have already noted… just get a different part of the company to spend big on green stuff… Extreme corporate virtue signalling, or a very cunning plan…?

@Esteemed Editor - Your reply below will get pinned to the Southern PitPass office notice board next to the cat bowls! With a a score card like that one never has a loss! One either wins, learns, or feels smug… or possibly all three at the same time…!

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8. Posted by Tardis40, 18/05/2023 23:31

"Okay, I give up.

Does he want to be able to spend more money or less?"

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9. Posted by Tyrbiter, 18/05/2023 22:54

"If they can't sustain themselves in the winning way in F1 then no amount of virtue signalling bolleaux is going to make any difference.

I can hear the distant sound of a former CEO washing his gravel, now that's fairly sustainable."

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10. Posted by elsiebc, 18/05/2023 19:34

"@Editor How silly of us all to look at their average finishing position for the first five races this year of 13.9 and losing focus of what really matters when you race in Formula One. I'm sure I speak for all us skeptics when I say we are truly indebted!"

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11. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 18/05/2023 18:52

"@Editor, it's worse than I thought... talk about putting the "woke" into Woking.
I can't help but wonder that since AMG Petronis Mercedes adopted their current hiring plan having consulted their top driver of the day that it lead to the decline they are in now.
I'm referring to diversity over competence.
Perhaps they too should focus on what it takes to win.
Back to McLaren, I see X% reduction in this and that in the report you have posted, well I see a 100% reduction in podiums, wins and championships compared to where a team of McLaren's resources should be."

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12. Posted by Editor, 18/05/2023 17:33

"@ All you sceptics

But they are winning!!!!

McLaren’s economic, environmental and social impacts in 2022. Key achievements include:

Net Zero

• A 22% reduction of GHG emissions against the 2019 baseline
• A 9% reduction in air freight emissions over 2 years as a result of transporting more race equipment by sea freight
• Converting lighting at the McLaren Technology Centre to LEDs, saving enough electricity to power 100 average UK homes for a whole year

Circular Economy

• A 19% reduction in total waste compared to 2021, and zero waste sent to landfill
• Cutting single use plastic: all disposable cups, plastic cutlery and sachets were removed from the MTC restaurant, saving almost 400 coffee cups every week
• Identifying 56 factory efficiency projects: 8 are completed, 19 are being implemented to cut packaging, waste and cost

Diversity, equity & inclusion

• 33% of new starters came from underrepresented backgrounds
• Our STEM Ambassadors reached over 4,000 students across 36 events
• 200+ managers participated in inclusive recruitment and onboarding training

Health & wellbeing

• 6% of the team are now trained as mental health first aiders
• 40% of the operations team took part in webinars on health & wellbeing
• Launch of our Social Media Community Code to enable fans to engage with McLaren and each other in a respectful, positive and safe environment"

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13. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 18/05/2023 17:24

"It is now known that ESG focused companies that fund managers invest in on many peoples behalf for the likes of retirement funds and indeed sovereign wealth funds, (there is a good Harvard Business Review and other articles out there) do not offer as good a return as the more traditional enterprises. Indeed, sooner or later someone is going to realise that sacrificing returns for "the greater good" is not actually looking out for the best interests of customers, especially when the customer retires only to realise that there isn't as much in the kitty as there should be.

I'd just like McLaren to concentrate on that one thing they really really need. Winning.

Anything that doesn't make their cars go faster or their team perform better should be discarded from the organisation.

Only once the team is winning races and championships should they indulge in the luxury of "sustainability" whatever that word actually means.

I jokingly trace back McLaren's l o n g slump in results to their being F1's first carbon dioxide neutral team as that statement happened about the same time as their last few wins, which predated the current leadership.

"Operational improvements over sustainable pillars" (good grief, what the heck is that?) might make the McLaren management sleep well at night however their F1 team exists to win, which they are not."

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14. Posted by elsiebc, 18/05/2023 14:34

"How about they just do their sustainability PR under one of their other four motorsport ventures. Or maybe their car sales. Seriously, with the amount of their business and their assets they had to sell off, there's only one type of sustainability they need to be focused on."

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15. Posted by Chester, 18/05/2023 13:46

"Ugh. What does this have to do with racing? No wonder McLaren are stuck in the mud. They are focused on everything but developing a winning car."

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