McLaren May Sell a Stake in Formula 1 Team to Endure Virus Downturn: Report


The age of coronavirus has been an ugly one for the sports car and racing businesses alike, and as a participant in both, McLaren has taken double the hit. In May, a BBC-spread rumor that the company could pawn its historic racing fleet was followed by a report that the McLaren Group could lay off 1,200, and in June, the word is McLaren could sell off partial ownership in its Formula 1 team to secure some extra capital.

Potentially mirroring a recent move by longtime rival Williams Racing, McLaren has according to SkySports floated the idea of selling a minority stake in its F1 team. The idea was reportedly posited in recent days during talks with possible financial lifelines and is said to concern a 20- to 30-percent stake in the racing operation, which reportedly accounts for around 20 percent of the McLaren Group’s annual revenue.

This transaction is alleged to be only in “a conceptual stage,” and the team has reportedly undergone none of the necessary formalities for such a sale. McLaren may reportedly not need to offer this portion of the team if it can raise additional funds from current shareholders, though the company could still be tempted into selling if it helps the outfit operate within F1’s coming seasonal budget cap of $145 million, as one source reportedly suggests.

The effects of the global economic slump have already been felt over in Gaydon, at McLaren’s fellow British carmaker and soon-to-be F1 rival Aston Martin. When the company’s financial outlook dimmed in March, ownership of its pending partner Racing Point F1 seized a 25 percent stake in the company, and in May, its CEO Dr. Andy Palmer was ousted for Mercedes-AMG executive Tobias Moers. Such a future likely doesn’t await McLaren, however, as Aston’s finances have long been some of the shakiest in the automotive industry, and McLaren’s supercar sales only climbed throughout the last decade.

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