Latifi family behind McLaren quarter billion dollar boost

A British Virgin Island company, with connections to the family of Formula 2 driver Nicolas Latifi, has invested over a quarter billion dollars into the McLaren Group, immediately prompting speculation that the young Canadian will find himself a drive with the Woking outfit.

Today Reuters confirmed that Canadian businessman Michael Latifi has bought a stake of around 10 percent in the McLaren Group that includes the Formula 1 team, but they emphasised that there was no connection between the deal and young Latifi’s motor racing career.

Earlier this month, McLaren announced in a statement: “McLaren Luxury automotive and technology company McLaren Group announces it is issuing new equity capital.”

“A capital injection of £203.8-million ($273-million) is being made by Nidala (BVI) Limited to purchase 888,135 ordinary shares in McLaren Group Limited. The proceeds for the new capital will be received over the coming year. This new capital, which is part of the Group’s simplification over the last 12 months, will significantly strengthen the Group’s balance sheet and underpins its ambitious growth plans laid out in its five-year business plan. ”

For the record, McLaren Group encompasses the McLaren Automotive, McLaren Racing and McLaren Applied Technologies companies following the merger of McLaren Automotive and McLaren Technology Group in July 2017.

Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, McLaren Group Executive Chairman, explained: “This injection of capital is a vote of confidence in our future strategy and the Group remains as focused as ever in positioning for growth.”

The name ‘Nidala’ is reportedly derived from the first two letters of the Canadian driver’s names – Nicolas David Latifi – which has prompted speculation that the 22-year-old will drive for the team as early as next year.

Latifi, who has no notable championship titles on his CV, currently lies ninth in the Formula 2 Championship, having finished fifth in the series last year. In 2017, he was F1 test driver for Renault and currently has a similar role with Force India.

At the recent Barcelona in-season test, Latifi spent Tuesday driving for Force India who were impressed by the youngster’s application and feedback on the day.

His billionaire father Michael Latifi is chairman and CEO of Markham-based Sofina Foods Inc, Canada’s second-largest food company. The privately held company has about 1,200 employees and estimated revenues of about $800-million annually. Its brands include Cuddy, Janes Family Foods, Mastro, Quality Meats and Vienna.

McLaren have not divulged any further details regarding the investment and conditions if any. They were also not commenting on the speculation that the financial injection has ignited, while the Latifi camp is thus far tight-lipped about this latest development.

Meanwhile, McLaren have veteran Fernando Alonso on their books along with Stoffel Vandoorne and highly rated young duo Lando Norris and Nyck de Vries – the pair waiting in the wings for a call-up.

McLaren have since confirmed Latifi as the investor:

McLaren: We are delighted Latifi has joined the family