While Audi seems keen, McLaren has come out and rubbished all these claims
Earlier in the day, reports had emerged that Audi had closed a deal to acquire the entire McLaren group. Audi had been exploring an acquisition of the McLaren Formula 1 team to facilitate its entry into the pinnacle of motorsport in 2026 when the new engine formula come into the sport. It had been open to the full acquisition of the entire McLaren Group that gives it access to the McLaren supercar brand. Audi, of course, already has a controlling stake in Lamborghini and the Volkswagen Group has been looking to enter the world of Formula 1 with its Audi and Porsche brands. Due to the pandemic, McLaren had faced many losses and was forced to lay off 1,200 workers.
Even though its F1 team has been on a revival and its financials have improved with external funding, last month the supercar maker also lost its longtime CEO Mike Flewitt who ran the main motorcar brand while its Applied sciences division was already sold.
While Audi seems keen, McLaren has come out and rubbished all these claims. “McLaren Group is aware of a news media report stating it has been sold to Audi. This is wholly inaccurate and McLaren is seeking to have the story removed. McLaren’s technology strategy has always involved ongoing discussions and collaboration with relevant partners and suppliers, including other carmakers, however, there has been no change in the ownership structure of the McLaren Group,” the company said in an official statement.
Audi for its part hasn’t fully denied the report which originated from Autocar. “As part of our strategic considerations, we are constantly looking at various cooperation ideas,” said an Audi spokesperson in response to the Autocar report. Porsche is looking at a partnership with Red Bull for its powertrains division while Audi had been planning to acquire a team and McLaren was the one on top of its list. If it can’t get McLaren, it will be looking at either Sauber or Williams which are now the last of the three independent teams left in the sport.
For Audi, McLaren is very attractive. Apart from being the third most successful F1 team in history, it is a storied supercar brand. Its team is also now back on the upswing with a great set of drivers in Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo. What’s interesting is if an acquisition were to happen what will happen to the McLaren brand which counts F1 core to its identity?