How McLaren F1 Are Working To Reduce Their Environmental Impact

25 Aug 2021

The climate crisis is now, without a doubt, one of the biggest issues facing our planet today. It not only impacts every single one of us, but every single one of us is impacting it. From multinational corporations to local communities, each needs to take responsibility to help tackle greenhouse gas emissions. This is particularly important in the motorsport industry and more and more brands are doing their part to reduce their environmental impact.

For Formula One, being the most influential players in the motorsport world, there has been a huge amount of pressure to stay up to date with modern technologies. With there being so much investment in the sport, many have claimed that it gives them a duty to lead the way in tackling climate change. One of the big F1 players has taken on that duty head-on. Let’s take a look at what McLaren has done to reduce their environmental impact.

What has McLaren F1 done to reduce their environmental impact? 

F1 Teams can no longer ignore the impact that the sport makes on the environment and more of the sports brands are driving to squeeze motor racing into line. Since the inaugural round of the FIA Formula One World Championship, the teams involved have relentlessly pushed the boundaries of technology in pursuit of performance. One of the most influential teams is McLaren, being the driving force behind many of them.
If you look at one of the most pioneering breakthroughs that have captured the imagination of drivers and spectators, it would have to be the introduction of the first car with a carbon fibre monocoque chassis. The MP4/1 is light, strong and a huge leap forward for safety. Now, Carbon fibre has been around for decades but it can still play a pivotal role in F1 and the steps they can take to reduce carbon emissions. 
The infamous F1 brand has been working with Bcomp - a Swiss sustainable lightweight specialist -  to develop more sustainable and cheaper alternatives to traditional motor parts and features. They have started with a natural fibre racing seat for Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris – the very first F1 car part to be made of renewable textile fibres. 
The team have managed to optimise the mechanical properties of flax fibres and have made it possible to make a seat with the required strength and stiffness, but with a 75% lower CO2 footprint compared to its carbon fibre counterpart. Over the past year, McLaren F1 have studied and developed their understanding of the environmental impact of the seat and have even taken into account the emissions in raw material production and manufacturing processes of the part. 
“In Lando Norris’ seat we can make use of all the sustainability and performance benefits of ampliTex™ and powerRibs™, resulting in 85% lower CO2 emissions. If Lando’s seat needs to be replaced, since it is all-natural fibre, it can be used for thermal energy recovery, turning approximately 80% of the energy stored in the seat into renewable energy.” (Source: Bcomp CEO and Co-Founder Christian Fischer)

Are Any Other F1 Teams Working To Reduce Their Environmental Impact?

In recent years Mercedes has been the figurehead of F1, but with that title comes a heavy impact on the. In 2018, Mercedes calculated that they released 20,000 tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere. With this huge impact, the team have announced that By 2022, they aim to have halved this to 10,000 tonnes. Mercedes claim that they will use gold-standard offsetting to help eliminate the impact of these (this means investing or taking part in projects that have a positive impact on the environment).
Ferrari is often seen as the F1 traditionalists and are often the first name people think of when F1 is discussed. However, this perception is not necessarily justified when it comes to sustainability. 87% of the energy used at Maranello is generated by their trigeneration plant. Ferrari’s team headquarters comply with the New Zero Energy Building Protocol (this means the energy they use is approximately equal to the renewable energy they create). Not only that, Ferrari have succeeded in reducing their CO2 emissions by 35% compared to 2007 levels, despite growing significantly as a business in that time across their European fleets.