McLaren Racing Team CEO Zak Brown says it’s important for new sponsors that the team has a presence in other motorsports series.
The McLaren name is also very well known outside of F1, such as in IndyCar, especially when driver Patricio O’Ward took the lead in the IndyCar championship with his fifth podium finish of the season this weekend at Gateway.
But it’s not just in this area that the team is looking to improve, it’s also looking to invest in the electric motorsports series. That’s why the British racing team will enter Extreme E next year and is also considering a move into Formula E.
For Brown, diversifying activities outside Formula 1 is essential so that new sponsors can be brought on board.
“We’re a large racing team knocking on 900 people,” Brown explained. “When we get involved in other forms of motorsports – IndyCar, we announced an Extreme E team, we have esports – ultimately, we have different individuals on each individual team to make sure that they’re not distracted because you need to be 100 percent committed to whatever your racing activity is. Some of the resources that we can share are more technical knowledge, know-how, equipment, things of that nature.
“So, we’re very comfortable that when we get involved in other forms of motor racing that we make sure that they all kind of standalone commercially. We very much operate as one family, as witnessed by Arrow, as witnessed by BAT, you’ve got Darktrace on both of our racing teams, Tezos, the list goes on. So, I think it’s a real commercial advantage for us and more importantly our partners that we have a breadth and depth of racing opportunities which partners can come in and utilise the McLaren platform to build their business.”
Brown, who is very involved in finding new motorsports series where McLaren can enter, also said his efforts nearly went down the drain when Fernando Alonso missed qualifying at the Indianapolis 500 in 2019.
“We have a rich history in Indianapolis. It’s something that, when I joined McLaren, one of the things I discussed with the shareholders was expanding our racing portfolio in time.
“That started with Fernando Alonso in 2017. It almost ended with Fernando Alonso in 2019! But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and when you race and you crash, you dust yourself off and you get back in the race car.”