McLaren F1 CEO provides update on Audi takeover bid

Audi are confirmed to have made contact with both McLaren and Aston Martin regarding the purchase of the respective teams.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown has reiterated that the Woking side have no plans to sell up to Audi amid Volkswagen’s interest in entering Formula 1 in 2026.

Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess has expressed his intention for Porsche to start making engines with a pre-existing team on the grid, clarifying that they need “three or four years” to design and manufacture a proficient engine under a new specification after the current freeze, and Red Bull are thought to be the intended customers.

Volkswagen’s other subsidiary, Audi, were linked with the McLaren group last year when it was reported that they had successfully purchased the British motoring giants, but McLaren denied this as “wholly inaccurate.”

READ: Stroll admits Audi are trying to buy Aston Martin from him

It generally leaves Aston Martin, Sauber and Williams as their most likely consumers, especially now that Brown has unequivocally stated that his team are not up for sale.

“We did have conversations with Audi, and we’re not for sale. We’re very committed to our future and we’re doing really well on the track,” he said, quoted by Autosport.

“Shareholders are making substantial investments to give our team the resources we need to get back to the front, and 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’re McLaren F1. That’s what we’re going to remain, and we’re going to remain owning the racing team.”

At the beginning of 2020, McLaren confirmed they were struggling with cash flow issues, and were forced to lay off 1200 employees as a result.

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The American was in charge then as he is now and, having watched a combination of Daniel Ricciardo, Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris take eight podiums and a race win since the beginning of the 2020 season and watched revenue rocket, he declares that his team are in a much more auspicious place.

“We’re in a really strong position and we weren’t 18 months ago. MSP Sports Capital came in and invested, and you guys all know the situation we were in 18 months ago,” he added. 

“That now seems like a long time ago, especially given the state of play now.

“Our terms for any partnership would be we retain ownership of the racing team. And if anyone wants to have a conversation that is different to that, then there’s no conversation to be had.”

Brown has previously conceded that McLaren would be willing to break away from Mercedes for a second time and switch over to Volkswagen power, but he insists that the final call on that will be down to team principal Andreas Seidl.

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“We won’t consider a buyout of McLaren, but it’s up to Andreas [Seidl] to decide what power unit he wants in the back of the racing car,” explained Brown.

Ricciardo and Norris set 90 laps between them during Friday practice at this weekend’s Miami Grand Prix, with the Briton ending FP2 in sixth position.