McLaren still in talks to sell shares in F1 team

According to reports, McLaren is currently in discussions to sell shares in its Formula 1 team to secure funds for the future.

The British company has been hugely damaged by the global pandemic and has faced considerable financial issues because of it.

Sky News reported in late June that they were considering selling a minority stake in their F1 team in an effort to raise funds.

Shortly afterwards, they took legal action to secure urgent funds by using historic cars as a deposit for a loan. Without it, facing insolvency as early as July 17th was a distinct possibility.

They received that loan of around £150million from the National Bank of Bahrain shortly afterwards, and CEO Zak Brown claimed that the financial problems had all been solved.

However, the company are still looking to secure more funding, and are planning to do so by going through with their plan to sell shares in the F1 team, Autocar has reported.

The site has stated that they were told by a McLaren insider that there are currently advanced discussions taking place “focused on selling a minority stake in the Racing division.”

The report goes on to say that the company’s board have given such talks the green light in the past week and that there are also discussions taking place regarding the sale of Applied, a company that applies McLaren’s racing expertise to everyday industries such as public transport.

“We are considering the option of additional investors in the Racing business,” a McLaren spokesperson told the publication when contacted.

On track, McLaren look set to enjoy their best season in a long time. Lando Norris’s podium at the season opener, as well as his qualifying performance, suggest that they could be as high as P3 in the pecking order.

Autocar suggests that such an improvement in form, as well as the upcoming budget cap, could raise the price of the shares in the team.

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McLaren forced to put new wind tunnel on hold

McLaren are looking to recommence work on major projects, such as their new wind tunnel, after recently securing additional funds.

The Woking team has received a £150million loan from the Royal Bank of Bahrain after months of exploring different options which did include the potential to sell a minority stake in the McLaren Group company.

But McLaren’s financial struggles have now been ‘solved’ with this new cash boost and one of Seidl’s main focuses is to get the team back to being fully operational in all areas again.

“At the beginning of this crisis we simply had to put on hold all the infrastructure projects we were working on,” Seidl told the official Formula 1 website, amongst others, in a video call.

“Even now, not knowing exactly how the income will look like during this year, we are still cautious there, and simply have to wait until we have the green light there again.

“As you can imagine I’m pushing hard to get these different infrastructure measures in place again as quickly as possible.

“We all know this will be key in our journey back to the front in Formula 1 as we have a deficit there compared to the top teams. I’m quite optimistic once we are through this crisis we get back on track with our infrastructure as well.”

Get your hands on the official McLaren 2020 collection via the Formula 1 store

Seidl also said that, despite a turbulent start to the year, McLaren’s plans for the 2020 and 2021 campaigns have been largely unaffected as they look to build on their P4 finish in the 2019 Constructors’ Championship.

He added: “The financial challenges we were in, and also with the measures we took in place quite early on with the pay cuts and the furlough, which was in parallel with the shutdown, to be honest didn’t really affect our output for this year or for next year.

“We are on course with the plan we set out over the winter.

“We are planning to bring updates regularly from Austria onwards on the car, and at the same time we are flat out in getting next year’s car ready with the biggest topic being the integration of the Mercedes power unit.”

Formula 1 is almost back! Check out our preview video for the season opener in Austria:

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Arrow McLaren SP reveals Alonso’s Indy 500 livery

The Arrow McLaren SP IndyCar Series team has revealed the colors of Fernando Alonso’s challenger for the delayed 2020 Indianapolis 500 in August.

Alonso, the two-time Formula 1 world champion and double 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, will be making his third attempt at the Indy 500, as he bids to become the second person to win the Triple Crown along with Graham Hill.

The Spaniard first ran the Indy 500 in 2017, when he led 27 laps before a blown engine forced him out, although he was crowned Rookie of the Year. Last year he failed to qualify for the race, after he was bumped from the field in shocking circumstances.

“I’m very happy to finally see the car which I will race in the Indianapolis 500,” said Alonso. “We had to wait longer than usual to release the livery but that means that engines will be starting soon in Indianapolis.

“I’m confident that Arrow McLaren SP will be competitive. The team has the right experience, well-qualified people, and great resources.”

Arrow McLaren SP co-owner Sam Schmidt said: “In 2017, Fernando proved that he can not only compete in the race, but that he can fight for the win.

“The livery is great. It represents the colors of Ruoff Mortgage while maintaining the livery design of all the Arrow McLaren SP entries. It’s unlike any entry that we have seen, which will make it easy to spot for fans.”

Fernando Alonso, No. 66 Ruoff Mortgage Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet

Photo by: Arrow SPM

Fernando Alonso, No. 66 Ruoff Mortgage Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet

Photo by: Arrow SPM

Fernando Alonso, No. 66 Ruoff Mortgage Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet

Photo by: Arrow SPM

Fernando Alonso, No. 66 Ruoff Mortgage Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet

Photo by: Arrow SPM

Alonso will join Arrow McLaren SP’s two full-time entries of Pato O’Ward and Oliver Askew for the 104th Indianapolis 500 on August 23.

“I’m very much looking forward to working with someone who has so much knowledge and so many years in motorsports,” said O’Ward of his teammate. “I can’t wait to work with each other and push for the strongest package that we can have.”

Askew added: “Never in my 15 years of racing would I have guessed that I would be racing alongside Fernando as a teammate, let alone at the Indianapolis 500. I’m looking forward to learning as much as I can from him…not many drivers get that opportunity.”

Alonso’s first shot at the Indy 500 in 2017 was inspired by McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown, who had a vision of getting the famous brand back in the historic race.

“I’m excited that we get to finally show the fans Fernando’s car that he will drive at the Indianapolis 500 this year,” said Brown. “It looks awesome and I can’t wait to see it hit the track in August in Fernando’s hands.”

Related video

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McLaren agrees £150m loan with Bahrain bank

McLaren has agreed a £150 million loan arrangement with the National Bank of Bahrain, which will help ease concerns it had about a short term cash flow problem.

The McLaren Group, which includes both the Formula 1 team and its road car business, has been hit hard by the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

But an attempt to refinance its operations to help it overcome short-term difficulties hit a road block when a group of creditors resisted attempts for it to raise finance through the release of securities such as its heritage car collection and properties.

The urgency of the situation prompted McLaren to go to court recently to allow its plan to go ahead, with documents revealing that if the company was blocked from the refinancing then it could face major problems.

It suggested that if it could not raise £280 million by July 17 then there was even a risk of insolvency.

“The Proposed Transactions will enable the Group to access the additional liquidity that is required to ensure that the Group can continue as a going concern into 2021,” said court documents. “This will provide a significant benefit to the creditors of the Group (by preventing a cash flow crisis and a value destructive insolvency).”

While McLaren was successful in getting its case fast-tracked through the courts, separate talks also opened up with the National Bank of Bahrain to arrange a loan to help it raise funds.

The NBB is 44% owned by the Bahrain sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat Holding Company, which is a 56% shareholder in McLaren.

On Monday, the NBB issued a statement to Bahrain’s stock market confirming that the loan had been agreed and signed.

It said: “The National Bank of Bahrain hereby confirms to the markets that final documentation has been signed and all the necessary approvals have been granted in relation to a GBP 150 million financing facility.”

The loan will offer McLaren some leeway in its bid to find the funding it needs through its other refinancing plan, and will also act as a buffer while its operations ramp back up again with racing set to resume in Austria this weekend.

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Renault: McLaren token burn allows openness with Ricciardo

Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul says McLaren’s need to burn its development tokens on switching engines rather than improving its chassis for 2021 means his outfit can involve Daniel Ricciardo in its car development this year.

Ricciardo has already signed to join McLaren for next season, as replacement for the Ferrari-bound Carlos Sainz.

While in the past drivers leaving teams has led to be them being sidelined from being involved in secret technical details, Abiteboul says that Renault has every intention of working as close as ever with Ricciardo.

He says the key factor in that is that with a new token system in place to limit what teams can change for 2021, Ricciardo’s future employer won’t be able to benefit from any Renault knowledge because the Woking-based outfit needs to spend all its allocation on adapting its car for a switch to Mercedes engines.

Speaking in a Renault media call about the plans of working with Ricciardo, Abiteboul said: “There won’t be any preferential treatment between Esteban [Ocon] and Daniel on the back of his decision, because it’s not the policy of the team.

“It’s not also a necessity, let’s be honest, as I’m not fighting for any championship as we stand here right now. It would make absolutely no sense, and Daniel will be involved in the development process of the car.

“With the way that the structure is, that the cars are more or less frozen between this year and next year, and also McLaren will have to use all their tokens on the pure chassis/engine integration, so no performance development there, that will give us the opportunity to work extremely normally with Daniel.

“The only thing is he won’t be exposed to 2022. But frankly he would not be anyway, because it’s still a bit far away from a driver perspective, even though a substantial part of our workforce is already on to 2022.”

Ricciardo said he did not expect the atmosphere within Renault to change much as the result of his decision to leave before the first race had taken place – even though there may be some ‘awkward’ moments when he sees people for the first time since the announcement was made.

“Maybe the first time I see some people in the team there might be that moment of, perhaps, I don’t know if the word is awkwardness, but I mean I went through it a couple years ago,” he explained, referring to when he decided to join Renault when he was at Red Bull.

“But actually, I think because time has passed since since the news now, and I’ve spoken, if not seen already, some members of the team, I think it’s really back to business.

“I think we’re all excited to get racing again. Hopefully we get a bundle of races, and hopefully we can get a chance to kind of finish this out strong.

“So from my side it’s certainly put behind me. It’s not in my train of thought at the moment and it won’t be until next year. So yeah, we’ll just get on with it.

“I’ve spent a couple of days in the sim as well, so have seen a few people around the factory and no black eyes or punches in the stomach. So I think we’re all moving on and we’ll give it our all for the rest of the year.”

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