McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown insists the team will not be sold to Audi despite discussions about a partnership with the auto manufacturer.
Audi has been linked with a takeover of McLaren as it evaluates its entry into Formula 1, with Volkswagen having given both Audi and Porsche the green light to join the sport in 2026. While admitting talks took place, Brown says the idea of selling the team was not one that McLaren was open to.
“Our shareholders are very committed to McLaren,” Brown said. “We did have conversations with Audi and we’re not for sale. We’re very committed to the future. We’re doing really well on the track, shareholders made substantial investments to give our team the resources we need to get back to the front, commercially we’re doing really well; morale in the team is really good. We don’t have any interest in selling the racing team.
“We won’t consider a buyout. It’s up to Andreas (Seidl — McLaren team principal) to decide what power unit he wants in the back of the racing car, but any conversation around buying McLaren is a non-starter.”
With the likes of Audi and Porsche only linked with existing teams rather than becoming standalone new constructors, Brown says any new teams need to show how they will increase the value of those already on the grid.
“I think we’ve got a great spectacle as it is. I understand that some people would go, ‘Well if there’s ten very healthy teams without a risk of losing a team…’ Whereas, historically, in the last 20 years there’s always been a team on the brink. I know Audi and Porsche — the (VW) CEO made a statement earlier this week which effectively confirmed that they’re coming into the sport.
“We can go up to 12 teams, and as long as it’s quality teams that are properly resourced and contribute to the growth of the sport, whether you buy an existing team, invest into an existing team or start one, I think it shows how healthy the sport is now that you have real people — investors and OEMs — that are trying to figure out a way to get into the sport. That’s achieved what we’ve always wanted to achieve which is to build franchise value for the racing teams.”