Brown rules out McLaren buy-out


Zak Brown has ruled out the possibility of McLaren being bought by Audi as it prepares to enter F1.

In November last year, McLaren issued an official statement following media claims that the company had been sold to Audi.

"This is wholly inaccurate and McLaren is seeking to have the story removed," declared the Woking outfit. "McLaren's technology strategy has always involved ongoing discussions and collaboration with relevant partners and suppliers, including other carmakers, however, there has been no change in the ownership structure of the McLaren Group."

Nonetheless, the speculation has continued, indeed intensified, as the Volkswagen Group has confirmed its intention to enter the sport with both Audi and Porsche.

Speaking as the Miami Grand Prix got underway, CEO Zak Brown, was keen to reassert that McLaren, which is 56% owned by Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company, the sovereign wealth fund of the government of the Kingdom of Bahrain, is not for sale.

"Our shareholders are very committed to McLaren," said Brown. "We did have conversations with Audi, and we're not for sale. We're very committed to our future.

"We're doing really well on the track, our shareholders made substantial investments to give our team the resources we need to get back to the front," he added.

"Commercially, we're doing really well, morale in the team is really good. We don't have any interest in selling the racing team.

"We're McLaren F1. That's what we're going to remain, and we're going to remain owning the racing team."

Despite the Bahrain funding, McLaren was hit hard by the pandemic and as a result was forced into two decision in 2020. The first was to sell and then lease back its technology centre (MTC), the second being to sell a $185m minority stake to US-based sports investment group MSP Sports Capital.

"We're in a really strong position and we weren't 18 months ago," Brown admitted. "MSP Sports Capital came in and invested, and you guys all know the situation we were in 18 months ago. That now seems like a long time ago, especially given the state of play now.

"Our terms for any partnership would be we retain ownership of the racing team. And if anyone wants to have a conversation that is different to that, then there's no conversation to be had."

Though he dismissed a buy-out, with an eye on a potential engine deal, Brown admitted that a partnership could be on the cards

"We won't consider a buyout of McLaren," he said, "but it's up to Andreas to decide what power unit he wants in the back of the car."

Check out our Saturday gallery from Miami, here.

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Published: 07/05/2022
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