McLaren F1 future secure as team rules out Audi sale

Audi’s parent company, the Volkswagen Group, is at an advanced stage of preparation with its efforts to bring the German manufacturer and its sister brand Porsche into F1 from 2026.

While Porsche looks set to team up with Red Bull, Audi’s plans are not so certain as it is still weighing its options.

The company held talks with McLaren and one option that was being evaluated was a full takeover of the team which would have resulted in it becoming the official Audi F1 team.

The entry of Audi would then have potentially led to a scenario of the complete disappearance of the McLaren name from Grand Prix racing.

But speaking ahead of the Miami Grand Prix, Brown made it clear the McLaren name is here to stay and there will be no sale to Audi.

Asked by about the possibility of a full sale, Brown said: “No, no. Our shareholders are very committed to McLaren.

“We have had conversations with Audi, and we are not for sale. We are very committed to our future and we are doing very well on the track.

“Shareholders are making substantial investments to give our team the resources we need to get back into the spotlight, and commercially we’re doing very well. Team morale is really good. We don’t have no interest in selling the racing team.”

He added: “We are McLaren F1. That’s what we’re going to stay on, and we’re going to stay on as race team owners.”

Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing

Photo by: Alexandre Trienitz

Brown’s confidence in McLaren’s future is based on the team’s improving financial situation, which turned around after a cash crisis at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In particular, he cites an $185 million deal with investor MSP Sports Capital as giving the team a bit more ground to make decisions in their own best interests.

“We are in a very strong position and we weren’t 18 months ago,” he said. “MSP Sports Capital came in and invested, and you all know the situation we were in 18 months ago. It now seems like a long time ago, especially given the current state of things.

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

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But while a sale to Audi was rejected, Brown says a decision on which engine McLaren will use from 2026 remains an entirely separate matter.

“We will not consider a takeover of McLaren, but it is up to Andreas [Seidl] to decide which power unit he wants in the back of the race car,” he said.

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