The latest investors in McLaren – MSP Sports Capital – say Liberty Media’s work as owners of Formula 1 gave them confidence to get involved in the sport.
McLaren announced that MSP will be purchasing an initial 15% – rising to 33% by 2022 – stake at the end of last year, that will give the team an injection of £185million ($245m) over that period. MSP principal Jahm Najafi says there had been a focus on the opportunities within F1 for a while, but initiatives pushed through by Liberty – including things like a budget cap and stepped aerodynamic testing regulations based on championship finishing position – had helped convince the U.S.-based group that the timing was right.
“This is a truly global sport and we have been very interested in looking at making an investment in a team in Formula 1,” Najafi, who has become a vice-chairman of McLaren Racing, said. “Of course under Liberty’s stewardship and the initiatives that they’ve undertaken taken recently, and their thoughts and vision of the future of the sport, (that) has given us a high level of confidence to make the investment in McLaren.
“So there’s not one particular variable that has given us the confidence, it’s the overall vision and the combination of what Formula 1 would like to do and what McLaren’s management team would like to do on a go-forward basis, and we’re happy to support that. The expertise and determination and the talent that exists at McLaren Racing is the reason that we’ve decided to invest at this particular time.”
Although Liberty has owned the sport since 2017, Najafi says the combination of McLaren’s potential with F1 and the overall direction of the sport as a whole made it too good an opportunity for MSP to turn down.
“In my over 35 years of investment career I’ve rarely come across the combination of the right team in the right league with the right people. McLaren Racing is exactly that,” he said. “Under the overall guidance of Greg (Maffei), Chase (Carey) and Stefano (Domenicali) for F1 and their overall vision of what they plan to accomplish in the future for F1, and of course for McLaren itself Paul (Walsh), Zak (Brown) and Andreas (Seidl) are a great team of individuals that we truly believe in.
“It’s so rare to find the right individuals and people in these similar situations for us to partner with that we had no choice but to make sure we make this investment and partner with them on a go-forward basis.
“This is very exciting for us. We believe in the overall vision that Zak has for the team and we are excited to support his overall strategy of making sure that the team continues to be competitive and in the not too distant future win a championship.”