The Volkswagen Group, parent company of Audi, is preparing the arrival of the German manufacturer and the Porsche sister brand in Formula 1 from 2026. Porsche seems on track to join forces with Red Bull, but Audi has more uncertain plans and continues to evaluate its options.
The company held discussions with McLaren, and one of the options considered was a full takeover of the team, which would have become the official Audi team. However, speaking at the Miami Grand Prix, Zak Brown made it clear the team was not for sale.
When Motorsport.com asked him if a takeover was possible, the CEO of McLaren replied: “No, no. Our shareholders are very invested in McLaren. We have had conversations with Audi, and we are not for sale. We are very committed to our future and we are doing really well on track.”
“Shareholders are making significant investments to give our team the necessary resources to get back to the front line, and commercially we are in a very good situation. Morale is really good in the team. Selling the stable does not interest us at all. We are McLaren F1. That’s what we’re going to stay, and we’re going to stay in ownership of the team.”
Zak Brown, PDG, McLaren Racing
Brown’s confidence in McLaren’s future stems from the team’s improving financial situation, which has rebounded well after struggling at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The American recalls in particular an agreement of 185 million dollars with the investor MSP Sports Capital, which gave more leeway to the team to make the best decisions for its future.
“We’re in a really strong position, and that wasn’t the case 18 months ago”says Brown. “MSP Sports Capital came in and invested; you [journalistes] you all know where we were 18 months ago. That now seems a long way off, especially given the current situation. Our terms for any partnership would be to retain ownership of the stable. If someone wants to negotiate something else, then there are no negotiations to be had.”
If the possibility of a sale of the team to Audi is ruled out, Brown specifies that the motorization of McLarens from 2026 is a completely different subject. “We will not consider a takeover of McLaren, but it is up to Andreas [Seidl, directeur d’équipe] to decide which power unit he wants in the back of the car”he concludes.