McLaren ‘losing lots of money’ in F1

Date published: December 20 2019

McLaren will run at budget cap level from 2021.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown has revealed that their F1 team is “losing lots of money” as they evaluate a possible World Endurance Championship entry.

As well as their F1 team McLaren have now committed full-time to IndyCar for 2020, joining forces with the Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsport team to form the Arrow McLaren SP entry.

McLaren are also looking for a route into the WEC’s top class, but that would be dependent on the convergence with the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship’s DPi 2.0 concept.

Building their own hypercar for the category would be unaffordable for McLaren, and Brown admits that they are looking for a “fiscally responsible” route to enter.

Brown also revealed that McLaren are “losing lots of money” in F1, but are sticking around because they expect the series to become “sustainable” under the budget cap from 2021.

Asked by Motorsport.com if it would be sustainable to run outfits in three series, Brown said: “Yes. But right now we’ve only got two and we’d only do the third if it was sustainable and that’s why we haven’t jumped in right now under the rules that exist today.

“We are not comfortable we can make that fiscally work. IndyCar is a good business, we can make that work. We made that work. Believe it or not, we made that work this year, even with the fiasco of not qualifying [for the Indy 500].

“Formula 1 we are losing lots of money, but the new cost cap is coming in, sponsorship is going really well. We see the trajectory of Formula 1 becoming sustainable, so that’s why we are now looking at sportscars.

“If we can get a business model that works then we would enter, but what we are not going to do is enter another racing series, any racing series that isn’t fiscally responsible.”

Toyota and Aston Martin have confirmed their place in the WEC Hypercar class from when it debuts in 2020/21, and after hearing Toyota will spend “north of $40 million”, Brown has urged the series’ chiefs to keep costs under control.

“I think Toyota is going to spend north of $40 million,” Brown revealed. “I don’t think you have to spend north of $40 million, I think you can maybe spend half of that.

“But I think the one who has the biggest cheque book we know historically is the one who wins. I think they need to come up with a formula where it becomes increasingly difficult to throw more money at it.

“So the $20-40 million range is where things sit and we want to be towards the lower end of that. But we need to be confident we can be competitive with that spend level.”

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