McLaren will be trialling recycled carbon fibre on the MCL60 during the upcoming F1 US GP, as they push towards sustainability.
McLaren Racing’s Formula 1 team will be trialling the use of cutting-edge recycled carbon fibre (rCF) on the McLaren MCL60 at this year’s US Grand Prix, in step with the team’s goal to develop a fully circular F1 car by 2030 and to help identify and test pioneering technologies and materials on the journey towards achieving its net zero target.
Together with innovative composites organisation, V Carbon, McLaren sourced recycled materials made using newly developed technologies. The car components manufactured using rCF will be the first of their kind and will be used on the cockpit branding panels, which will feature the V Carbon logo.
The environmental benefits of recycled carbon fibre include: A 90% reduction in life cycle emissions compared to standard carbon fibre, the equivalent of 27 tonnes of carbon emissions for each tonne of material used. If just 1% of the carbon fibre manufactured globally in 2022 was rCF, it would save 32,535 tonnes of carbon emissions – equivalent to half of McLaren Racing’s total emissions in 2022.
The manufacture of the F1 car is one of the largest contributing factors to F1 teams’ overall carbon footprint. Enhancing the use of more sustainable materials therefore has huge potential to help reduce emissions.
Working towards a circular economy – i.e., minimising the resources we consume and the waste we produce, while keeping materials in circulation for as long as possible – is one of McLaren Racing’s four sustainability priorities. The team has committed to accelerating the development of a fully circular F1 car and is working on this with our long-standing partner Deloitte. Teaming up with V Carbon represents a further significant step towards showcasing the feasibility of circular practices in the production of Formula 1 cars.
McLaren is no stranger to pioneering materials in F1 and was the first F1 team to race a chassis manufactured wholly from carbon fibre in 1981. More recently, we introduced bio-based flax fibre as a substitute for traditional carbon fibre in 2020, which has been successfully used in Lando’s car seat ever since.
Piers Thynne, Chief Operating Officer, McLaren F1 Team, said: “We’re proud to team up with V Carbon to lead the charge in sustainable materials, running with recycled carbon fibre at the Austin GP. The potential future applications of rCF are hugely exciting. V Carbon offers up to 85% of carbon fibre original strength, making it strong enough for a variety of applications in F1, and beyond. We will continue to work closely with the FIA, F1 and fellow teams to help accelerate change.”
Kim Wilson, Director of Sustainability, McLaren Racing, said: “Developing a fully circular F1 car is our moonshot. We know that innovating in this space has the potential to make a large contribution to achieving our ambitious sustainability goals. As a team, we are passionate about driving change in our sport but we cannot do this alone and need to collaborate with others, like V Carbon and our partners Deloitte, to achieve this. Using recycled carbon fibre in key parts of the F1 car at this year’s US GP and analysing their performance on the track is a vital step towards reducing the overall GHG emissions of our car manufacture. V Carbon’s new technology, as with many other pioneering developments in F1, also has the potential for wider application across other industries, so we’re excited to explore next steps.”
Following a successful collaboration with V Carbon at the US GP, McLaren intends to continue to run rCF on the F1 car for the remainder of the 2023 season, assessing the sustainability and performance of the material. Longer-term, the team intends to scope additional parts on the McLaren F1 car and begin to close the loop in carbon fibre manufacturing and reduce overall emissions.
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[Note: The story is as per press release]