Times are tough in Formula 1 as McLaren unlikely to launch with title sponsor

McLaren will unveil their 2014 car on Friday

McLaren will unveil their 2014 car on Friday (File photo)

The McLaren team has not found a new title sponsor to replace telecoms group Vodafone in time for this week’s launch of its latest car, proof if ever it was needed, that times are tough in Formula 1

McLaren is in talks with potential partners but is not certain whether they will be able to bring in a title sponsor this year after the telecoms group dropped out at the end of last season.

McLaren, who last season failed to finish on the podium for the first time since 1980, said that they have the funds to compete this year despite the loss of a sponsorship worth an estimated €55 million per season.

“I’m pleased to say that McLaren Racing will have a larger operational budget available to it in 2014 than it’s had in any previous season in McLaren’s history,” McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale told PitPass.

Jonathan Neale

Jonathan Neale

Neale pointed to a roster of blue chip sponsors, “We’ve got a large number of brilliant partners – Mobil 1, Santander, GSK, Johnnie Walker, Hilton, Hugo Boss, Tag Heuer and SAP – and they all share our ambition and commitment to achieve success.”

The team is owned by three shareholders who can also help to support them – Bahraini investment fund Mumtalakat, Saudi businessman Mansour Ojjeh and group chief executive Ron Dennis.

For Formula 1 the McLaren situation provides a hard look at the stark reality that prevails in the sport, if a team with such a massive legacy is struggling to find backing, how difficult is it for others?

McLaren will present its new MP4-29 on Friday in an online-only digital launch. (Reuters)

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