Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing, and Formula 1 Driver Lando Norris discuss McLaren’s journey back towards the top of the grid and their sustainability mission.
On the journey to reclaiming the championship: Norris: “I think something that makes this more special is to try and be part of a bigger story, which is going from that position we're in, to try and go back to winning races and winning championships and becoming the team that everyone knows we can be … It's my goal to be a part of that journey … And I think it'll be more special for me instead of just going into a team that can win races straightaway, as much as I would love that. Being part of a team that goes from, you know, struggling and being in a very tough position, to then winning races, I think that feels more deserved and more special.”
On McLaren’s strategy to reduce its carbon footprint: Brown: “I'm asked often 'are we going to lead or follow in sustainability?' And I think the answer is both … We have cutting edge technology that we can deploy, not only within our Formula 1 and racing environment, but we do a lot of work with countries and other industries to share our knowledge and know-how. And I believe sustainability is a journey where you're never going to reach your final destination. So, while we have set specific goals, net zero by 2040, DE&I around having a more diverse workplace, up to 40 percent is our goal by 2030 … it's going to be what we can do, what we can do with our partners, what our employees can do, who we're affiliated with, that will all come together.”
On deploying racecar technology outside of F1: Brown: “One area that we're very proud of is during the early days of COVID, the UK government ran short on ventilators. And a handful of the Formula 1 teams and a few industries came together, and we designed and built ten years' worth of ventilators in ten weeks … I always used to walk around the factory saying we're here to entertain lives, not save lives. But actually, now I believe that we've helped save lives through deploying our technologies and our know-how … We worked with different companies around the world to help them in sustainability … We've helped airlines turn around planes quicker. So, there are a lot of technologies and know how that we have that get deployed outside of a Formula 1 car, which I don't think a lot of people realize.”
On the future of Formula 1: Brown: “We have the luxury problem of we have more countries and cities that want to host races than we can physically put on … I think we're going to need to get into an element of a rotational schedule … If there's a country out there, a great country that makes sense for the fan base and our partners, we should be racing there. But I don't think we can compete more than, really, probably 24 races a year. So, I envision a 30-country visit. But maybe we have 16, 17 core races, and a dozen that rotate every other year.”
This episode was recorded on June 21, 2022