McLaren gets a $185 million boost

DUBAI — British supercar manufacturer McLaren Group, which includes its Formula One team, has arranged a 150 million pound ($185.2 million) financing facility with the National Bank of Bahrain (NBB), the Gulf bank said on Monday.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the company hard, with sales plunging during a factory shutdown. It announced 1,200 layoffs in May.

“Final documentation has been signed and all the necessary approvals have been granted in relation to a … 150 million (pound) financing facility,” NBB said.

Bahrain sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat Holding Co is the majority shareholder in McLaren Group, with a 56% stake.

Mumtalakat also holds a 44.06% stake in NBB while the government of Bahrain holds a 10.85% stake.

McLaren’s Formula One future was never in doubt despite the cash crisis, team principal Andreas Seidl said on Tuesday.

“It was a tough period for the team, steering a team through these financial difficulties we were in,” Seidl told reporters. “The positive news we had yesterday about the funding which is in place now, is I think an extra boost, an extra motivation for all of us who are fully focused again on what we like to do most and what we do best.”

McLaren was the first team to furlough staff, with drivers Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz also taking pay cuts, and the team also went through layoffs, a move that also reflects Formula One’s 2021 budget cap.

“With me and (McLaren Racing Chief Executive) Zak (Brown) having detailed knowledge of what was actually going on … there was never a doubt of McLaren not being on the grid next year,” said Seidl.

The financial issues had not affected this season, he added, with regular performance upgrades planned.

While some infrastructure projects had been put on hold, Seidl said he was pushing to get them going again although McLaren still had to be cautious due to uncertainty over how many races there would be and the impact on revenues.

The German suggested some headlines that triggered alarm, with talk of mortgaging historical cars and the McLaren headquarters building in Woking, England, or selling a minority stake in the team, reflected McLaren’s search for the best possible option in terms of funding.

“(It was) finding the right funding which would not only get us through this crisis but also put us in the best possible position to be competitive in the future. So I am very happy with the news from yesterday,” he said.