Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Circuit of the Americas, 2018

McLaren expects to repeat 2018 sponsor growth next year

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In the round-up: McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown says he intends to increase the team’s portfolio of sponsors in 2019 to the same extent they did this year.

What they say

Brown was asked about his expectations for the team’s sponsorship growth and whether they will acquire a new title sponsor:

We have made good progress this year. We have hit our anticipated revenue numbers. Like our on-track road to recovery [programme], we have the same kind of road to recovery on our corporate partners.

I think we brought in more new partners than any other racing team or the series this past year. They were great brands, long-term relationships: Dell Technologies, Petrobras, FX Pro etc… We, I would anticipate having the level and amount of new partners joining us in 2019.

We are not actively trying to find a title partner, we’re actively trying to find what we call a principal partner. What that means is a title sponsor as you would know it from a visibility on the the car standpoint – of course you would want that level of partner – but unless it is exactly the right partnership we aren’t actively trying to bring any other brand alongside our bran. Because I think ultimately we are McLaren, we remain McLaren and not change our name as I think any great brand would not want to change their name. So it’d have to be the right partnership.

[I’m] comfortable with where we are commercially and of course I think the more on-track success we have will be making it easier to accelerate our corporate recruitment programme.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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  • 29 comments on “McLaren expects to repeat 2018 sponsor growth next year”

    1. The comments by Franz Tost with respect to Mclaren not sharing info with Honda does not surprise me. It was quite clear in the Prime Racing Driver series. The fact that they couldn’t get the bolt arrangements on the gear box casing right showed that their interface management was a total failure. Project Management 101.

      It just seems like the Mclaren Honda relationship didn’t have a charter, they had no idea how the relationship was supposed to work. I remember Gary Anderson asserted on many occasions the main issue at Mclaren was that there appeared to be no single person that was taking ownership. Ron was too busy running the company, and god alone knows what the rest of the fredo tooting bunch were doing.

      Long live the matrix management structure.

      1. @jaymenon10 Incredibly damning statement about McLaren there. Can’t believe how poor the relationship must have been even if we got a glimpse of it by Boullier’s comments in the media. Of course Honda sucked big time and didn’t take the F1 project seriously when they f.i. did single cylinder dyno and not test engine for vibration, and incredibly were not even able to build something as ‘basic’ as a working oil tank, but it was all about getting a working relationship as soon as possible and not let frustration cause fronts to be created which seems to have happened.

    2. “I said last year quite clearly that it will not be an easy season, because of technical topics which we have to sort out, but in the end, I must say that the power unit from Honda showed a much better performance than the chassis of Toro Rosso,” said Tost.

      “That means our deficiencies were not on the power unit side so much, we had our own deficiencies on the car.

      “This was limiting us more, let me say it this way. Not the power unit. The power unit was OK.”


      1. Tost is talking about performance, your link is talking about reliability. Two different things.

        1. You have to judge reliability and performance hand in hand. Renault could probably be a whole lot closer to Ferrari and Mercedes in terms of performance if they cranked up their engine and replace it after every second race.

          Additionally, just to clarify, Honda were miles behind Renault towards the end of the season. Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi showed that Honda is clearly trailing Renault engines on performance.

          I’m fairly certain that Honda has an agreement with Toro Rosso that they would have to clear their bad reputation within the paddock. Tost is trying his level best to blame the chassis and not Honda… but let’s face it.. they performed way better with a Renault engine in the back with lesser chassis development in 2017.

          1. I just checked the end of year qualifying results between 2017 and 2018 between the lead Red Bull, lead Mclaren and lead Toro Rosso for Abu Dhabi and Brazil and below is the result:

            Verstappen (Q3, 68.925 in 2017), Vertappen (Q3, 67.778 in 2018)
            Alonso (Q3, 69.617 in 2017; Q1, 70.172 in 2017), Alonso (Q1, 69.402 in 2018)
            Hartley (Q1, 70.625 in 2017), Gasly (Q3, 69.029 in 2018; Q1, 69.046 in 2018)
            Toro Rosso were 1.7 seconds slower in 2017 and 1.3 seconds slower in 2018 comparing to the Red Bull. The best Honda car was 0.7 seconds slower in 2017 and 1.3 seconds slower in 2018 comparing to the Red Bull.

            Abu Dhabi:
            Ricciardo (Q3, 96.959 in 2017), Ricciardo (Q3, 95.401 in 2018)
            Alonso (Q2, 98.636 in 2017), Alonso (Q2, 97.743 in 2018)
            Gasly (Q1, 99.724 in 2017), Hartley (Q1, 97.994)
            Toro Rosso were 2.8 seconds slower in 2017 and 2.4 seconds slower in 2018 compared to Red Bull. The best Honda car was 1.7 seconds slower in 2017 and 2.5 seconds slower in 2018 comparing to the Red Bull.

            Toro Rosso have improved by 0.4 seconds compared to Red Bull. Based on this, how can you say “Toro Rosso performed way better with a Renault engine in the back with lesser chassis development in 2017”.

            Honda have gone backward by 0.6-0.8 seconds compared to Red Bull. Based on this, we CAN conclude what you are saying: “Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi showed that Honda is clearly trailing Renault engines on performance.” However, only Red Bull know how big was the chassis gap between Mclaren in 2017 and Toro Rosso in 2018. So, it is not proven. Given that Red Bull have chosen to go with Honda, they must have seen something, right?

            1. Hm, so, what does that really show us then Sumedh? When we look at both McLaren’s qualifying with Honda vs. qualifying with Renault power, look at STR and look at the main complaint RBR keep having towards Renault – the clear lack of a good qualifying mode – I would harbour the suggestion that Honda DOES have one that works.

              How often did we see a McLaren qualify ahead of where it could finish. And now we see exactly the same with STR in quite a few races. I see that as prove for what I suggested before. And since RBR feel confident that they can keep other cars behind if only they qualify further up the order, that focus (more on qualifying than the race) is probably one Red Bull endorses.

              But it doesn’t tell us that the Honda is “better” or even “faster” than the Renault. It makes different choices. And yeah, in reliability is is still clearly behind even Renault and it’s race day power also is pretty clearly a weakpoint even towards the end of their “development year”.

            2. Race pace is something dictated heavily by how you start, how you manage tyres, fuel saving, etc. Hence, difficult to prove or disprove if an engine is not providing enough power over a race stint but providing in qualifying.

              And frankly, I don’t buy this race pace vs qualifying pace argument. In the years that I have followed the sport (2001 onwards), I have noticed very few clear cases of a stark difference between race and qualifying pace. Red Bull 2010, Mercedes 2013 and (to a lesser extent) Mercedes 2012 were the only cars with very high qualifying pace but that advantage disappeared on race day. Cases of the opposite type have also been very few – Lotus 2012 and Ferrari 2013 come to mind. And all these cases were because of the way tyres behaved in those years. It was nothing to do with the engine mapping.

          2. It’s quite clear that the Honda engine is already more powerful then Renault in qualifying.
            On race day, things are a bit different, the new spec 3 engine from Honda was never correctly calibrated to the chassis, mainly because of what Tost said, lack of development on the chassis.
            Toro Rosso were a test mule this season, they proved the engine was not as bad as people tough, but being a test mule also meant that there chassis had to be pretty much the same all season to test what the engine was going to deliver.
            Red Bull are no amateurs, if they choose Honda over Renault that’s because they know what it’s capable of, and the development potential it has.
            2019 season is gonna be really interesting

            1. Toro rosso proved exactly what everybody knew about honda. Unreliable and worst performance of all 4. Mclaren was honda’s test bed for 3 seasons. Will honda ever get out of the “test bed” phase??

              Red Bull are no amateurs, if they choose Honda over Renault that’s because they know what it’s capable of, and the development potential it has.

              Red bull had no other choice. Either pay lots of money to renault for 3rd best engines and lacklustre development or take a risk and switch to honda. Merc and ferrari refused to sell engines to red bull so red bull only had 2 options. At least with honda the direction of money is from honda to red bull and not the other way around like it was with renault. And with honda red bull gets the factory team status. Renault engine is still miles better than the honda but there are lots of other reasons why red bull picked honda.

              If honda ever gets out of the test bed phase and unlocks this “potential”… It’s been already over 4 years of potential and test beds. Can honda ever build engines that produce as much power as the renault or last as long? I seriously doubt it. They have showed no progress over the last 4 years.

              Red bull is not switching to honda because of “potential”. They are taking a massive risk because they have no other options.

    3. Saudi Arabia allow women and men to dance together for first time ever at Formula E opener

      After thousands of years, we’ve only just go to this point.

      1. And Yemen back in the stone age.

    4. As for ‘Quote of the day’, I find myself wincing when listening to Zak Brown. There’s so much ‘corporate speak’, it’s like sitting in on David Brent’s intervention.

      1. it’s like sitting in on David Brent’s intervention.

        @bernasaurus – Nice one, this had me cackling rather too loudly. The fact that it’s the last day of work before I take off for the new year is mere coincidence, I assure you.

      2. At least Ronspeak was informative and accurate, if rather verbose. Zakspeak is meaningless.

    5. McLaren lost as many sponsors as they added for a net increase of zero since Mr ‘hot air’ marketing guru Brown joined them.
      When will a professional organisation like McLaren learn that a typical chief marketing guy spends as much/more time selling internally what he supposedly achieved, compared to what he is actually supposed to do?
      And instead, they promote him to top honcho and IMO McLaren as a team has gone backwards even further since then.

      1. selling internally

        @coldfly – agreed, I too have felt that many of Zak’s words and deeds were focused more on appeasing the investors/board than in actually moving the F1 team forward.

        1. Sorry, read that as investors/board/Alonso, and not necessarily in that order.

      2. He made an astronomical deal woth Kimoa though

        1. Fair point.

          Maybe he can ask all staff to start a clothing line and put that brand on the car in lieu of salary ;)

          1. Can’t do that. He already designated Kimoa as the official clothing supplier and let Alonso buy into Mclaren racing.


            1. The reports about Alonso investing in McLaren are fake.

        2. (@johnmilk)

          He made an astronomical deal woth Kimoa though

          Can you back that up?. Having Kimoa in the car could have been just another way to pay Alonso for his salary.

          1. @zoomracing it was a sarcastic comment

    6. We are McLaren, we remain McLaren and not change our name as I think any great brand would not want to change their name.

      I like that.

      1. you might like it, @jeff1s), but that is just falling for the marketing talk of Zak Brown.

        Just last year (Brown was at McLaren responsible for Marketing) the team was called ‘MCLAREN HONDA FORMULA 1 TEAM’.
        Only because this marketing guru failed miserably in finding a title sponsor he is now reducing the rate card and will settle for a ‘principle’ sponsor (marketing talk for a title sponsor who will be on the side of the car, but not part of the team name, and at a hugely reduced rate).

        Too much hot air and blah blah at McLaren. No on-track results and a very ‘meh’ line up next year.
        I’m sure there are still many great technicians working there. The team needs a(nother) huge management shakeup to get the train rolling again.

    7. I’ll believe it once it actually happens.

      Is that so? Was Honda really lacking that much car knowledge following the end of the partnership with Mclaren?

      Regarding the COTD: Maybe, maybe not.

      “You think about all these teams, and you think anyone could lead the midfield battle next year.”
      – I expect Renault to be more clearly ahead of the rest of the midfield, though.

    8. I can’t help but feel that Zak Brown will never be capable of heading up a successful F1 team. He’s been around the industry for a long time and used to drive so I don’t doubt his passion for motorsport, but he comes across as a ‘business first, track second’ kind of character and the performance of the team since he arrived has been abysmal.

      “13th and 17th… but hey, we sold a 10cmx20cm space on our bargeboard to a new sponsor for two races, so life’s good! Happy press release, guys!”

    9. I’m a tad surprised at all the anti-Zak comments here… Surprised because I can no longer read anything he says any more… so I’m unable to join with all you other guys who don’t believe a word he says… ;-)

    Comments are closed.