McLaren finances set to take a $100m hit in 2016
Ron Dennis is known to play hardball. Following the withdrawal of Vodafone and their $100m a year title sponsorship in 2013, Dennis was confident there was no problem.
“Our cars will not feature a title sponsor at the first event [in 2014],” he said. “But it will definitely feature a title sponsor in the next few events.”
Big Ron made it clear, he would not be discounting the rate card for advertising/sponsorship despite the economic malaise many large corporate entities had been experiencing for some years.
Also with just a year to wait for Honda to march into Woking, Dennis was confident that they would not have to report to short term sponsorship deals for just one year.
“I know what this company is. I know what this grand prix team can achieve and that requires the correct recognition when it comes to the commercial relationship with the principal sponsor. We turned away stopgaps.”
Yet as 2014 rolled on, the loveable but clearly irritated Eric Boullier was repeatedly asked about sponsors – each time with a winning smile of embarrassment he’d kick the topic down the road.
It transpires according to the Telegraph that in fact Jonnie Walker – who have partnered with McLaren for 10 years – offered them $70m to become the team’s 2013 title sponsor. Dennis declined requiring them to match the Vodafone rack rate of over $100m.
Now having lost long term partner Hugo Boss to Mercedes, McLaren could lose another $30m from Jonnie Walker and Santander. The banking group have been withdrawing from the excessive levels of sponsorship they committed too in the mid to late naughties and their contract with McLaren is up at the end of the year.
However, Jonnie Walker are believed to be looking for another F1 partner, though McLaren did claim at the weekend there were “ongoing discussions” with the liquor brand.
Further, if Mclaren-Honda’s on track fortunes don’t improve, they are set to receive $35m less from the F1 prize money pot than in 2014.
No wonder Honda’s Mr. Arai is feeling the heat and once again Jenson’s future is looking uncertain.
Monza, oh Monza
There has been much anguish and gnashing of teeth this weekend over the possibility that F1 racing in Monza is now finished. A number of the broadcasting networks ran historic features on F1 at the ‘Cathedral of Speed’. These were followed by presenters discussing the terrible hole that would be left in the soul of F1 should Bernie
Having been thoroughly spanked by Ferrari’s corporate paddle together with a dressing down from Bernie, Sebastian Vettel had been sweetness and light with the media throughout the Monza weekend. Then as though to prove he still owned a remnant of his former persona, Vettel apparently decided that another bout of public cussing was an act of rebellion he may get away with.
Vettel stated that if Monza was dropped from the F1 calendar, the heart would be ripped out of Formula One and merely – “for shitty money reasons”.
Seb then waxed lyrical about his passion for the Autodromo, just north of Milan. “The emotions here are incredible. You stand on the grid and people left and right are happy to be part of it.
It makes our day. Thank you for this emotion.”
Race winner Lewis Hamilton joined in the lament.
“This circuit is such a special one for me and all the drivers. When you stand on that podium you feel incredibly proud to be among all the greats that have stood up there.
The sea of fans is unlike anything I’ve seen.
It’s one of the best tracks in the world. This has to stay here for moral reasons.
You’ve got all those fans out there who come every single year.
Another grand prix would not have that same impact. We definitely have to keep it.”
Fellow podium sharer and passionate Latino – Felipe Massa – gave no quarter in his defence of the home of ‘the parabolica’.
“Here we are in the history of Formula 1. We race for the people here.
When I see the podium here, people screaming and crying, we cannot lose that.
This is part of our blood and we cannot lose these type of races. I really like to go to new countries, we go to amazing countries, but you cannot lose something that’s in your blood.”
Well unfortunately Felipe, it has been alleged that Bernie Ecclestone – unlike us mere mortals – has something other than the red stuff running through his veins.
Money talks! And somebody, somewhere in Italy needs to find around 20 million euro’s – otherwise the Autodromo will become to F1, merely ‘the Cathedral gone to seed’.
Red Bull left engineless
TJ13 reported yesterday that Red Bull was in the process of formally severing ties with engine supplier Renault. The speculation in F1 circles was that a Mercedes engine deal was imminent, but could not be announced until the Renault divorce was signed.
Mercedes AMG dashed those hopes on Monday by voting “no go” to supplying one of their main rivals with their top rated Power Unit. This puts RB in a tough spot, if they indeed were counting on Mercedes to be their savior.
Ferrari has come out publicly at least twice in the last several months, most recently at Monza, saying that they would be happy to supply Red Bull. This may appear to be valid option for the once dominant fizzy drinks company, but we all know that any relationship with Ferrari comes with some anchors attached to those strings.
Red Bull seem to have the opposite problem to Lotus. Lotus have no money, few sponsors, and multiple engine options. Red Bull is flush with cash, has more logos on their car than a newly licensed NASCAR fan, and can’t beg themselves an engine partner.
The world has turned upside down.
Bernie the flip-flopper
Taken from the formula one website.
Q: How can Nico crack Lewis?
BE: Well, in the end, by being faster! Generally I still believe that Lewis is the best champion that we have had in a long, long time. He manages to get to all different walks of life: red carpet, fashion business, and music – you name it. That is not your [Nico’s] fault or his. You two are just very different characters.
Q: Can you explain what you mean when you say Nico is a very different character to Lewis? Probably more low profile?
BE: Nico is not seeking the limelight as Lewis does. Lewis wants to be famous.
BE: Let’s put it this way: I am happy that we have somebody like Lewis. I also couldn’t be like Lewis. I don’t like gold jewellery! (laughs)
BE: But when it comes to F1 I am a huge Lewis fan because he is a super promoter of the sport. From a pure business aspect – sorry Nico if I have to say this – you are not so good for my business.
BE: Sebastian (Vettel) is also not doing much for F1. People hardly recognize him on the street.
That of course was F1’s own Bernard Ecclestone, in May of this year. But in a sport measured in thousands of a second, and hundredths of a millimetre, time has a way of passing quickly.
“Maybe he’s gone too far in recent months,” Bernie is quoted as telling Bild am Sonntag newspaper. “I don’t know if it’s good for him.”
Good for him or good for your wallet Mr. Ecclestone?
And in another moment that is pure Bernie, he flips back on Sebastian in the next sentence.
“People are beginning to respect Sebastian that he is the way he is. I don’t want everybody to be like Lewis. Perhaps it was unfair to criticise Sebastian. Actually he’s a bit like me.”
“We don’t want the limelight. I want to do my work, and if there is no drama then I’ll see if I can make one! But the big show, I’ll leave that to the others,” added Ecclestone.
Once again I would like to remind everyone to see everything the troll says through the prism of money. When he looks at the drivers all he really sees are walking dollar signs, his feigned concern for Lewis’s well being and newly supportive tone towards Seb are only expressed to further pad his own coffers.