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Honda and McLaren

NEWS STORY
28/05/2014

With Honda set to return to F1 in 2015 as engine supplier to McLaren, a story is doing the rounds claiming that the Japanese giant wants to buy into the Woking company.

The Japanese manufacturer returns to F1 apparently enticed not only by its passion for competition but the move towards a greener formula that brings the sport closer to its road car ethos.

Its last foray into F1 ultimately ended in pain, withdrawing without warning at the end of 2008 even though all was in place for the subsequent buyers to take the 2009 title with seeming ease.

As for buying into McLaren however, such a move would be far from easy and the decision would not rest with the Japanese giant.

It is understood that there is an agreement between the three owners of McLaren - Ron Dennis, Mansour Ojjeh's Techniques d'Avant Garde Group and the Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company, which is wholly owned by the Kingdom of Bahrain - that any shift in equity would have to be with the agreement of all three parties.

Furthermore, according to a source close to the team, should one party wish to sell its shares, or a proportion of them, they would first have to be offered to the other two shareholders.

Furthermore, our source claims that as a (road) car manufacturer, should Honda wish to buy into the McLaren Group - which is itself a road car manufacturer - it is stipulated in the company agreement that the specific approval of all shareholders would be required. Of course, this doesn't mean it cannot happen in the future merely that the approval of all three owners would be needed.

Quite what evidence the story is based on is unclear, however even allowing for the issues at McLaren's end, the fact is that Honda has made it quite clear that ahead of its return to the sport, and the resumption of a partnership that has proved so successful in the past, it is devoted entirely to developing its engine and nothing else.

Chris Balfe

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1. Posted by Paul C, 28/05/2014 18:45

"Honda should buy Caterham outright and supply power units to McLaren. McLaren is more than competent to utilize Honda's engineering products as it does it's Mercedes power units. Caterham would buy Honda a second source of test data and might be an easier company to buy into."

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2. Posted by Hardliner, 28/05/2014 11:22

"If the McLaren company that you write about is English, these pre-emptive purchase rights would be perfectly normal under English company law, and by the same token equally easy to set aside if all shareholders agree, so nothing unusual at all. Frankly, in a three way split like this on such an important brand, whether McLaren is an English company or not I'd be more amazed if they DIDN'T have pre-emptive purchase rights. And even if they didn't, this is a major strategic move, which in a private as opposed to quoted company is highly unlikely to result in any changes which aren't acceptable to all. Non-news I'm afraid...."

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