The half-masting of car sales as well as the postponement of the start of the F1 season severely affected McLaren's cash flow and forced it to take out a loan of around 160 million euros from the National Bank of Bahrain as well as 'to plan for layoffs. Since then, however, the F1 team has not experienced any money problems and has, on the sporting side, signed several podiums after the start of the 2020 financial year in July, allowing it to reach this stage of the season in third position among manufacturers.
McLaren CEO Zak Brown believes the team's ability to navigate this area of turmoil without too much difficulty is largely tied to the factories shutdowns imposed by the FIA. In an exclusive interview for Motorsport.com, he explains : Fortunately, the issues we had during COVID, which were significant and well documented, didn't really have an impact because we couldn't spend money even though we had it because everything was closed . "
“So even though it didn't look good, and it wasn't good, it actually didn't impact the progress of the team, as there was nothing you could do during that time. to restart, we had been through that. We were fragile before COVID and it just pushed us into the red zone. "
“But the good news is that now it's behind us, and so things like the [factory] sale and leaseback are just good financial restructuring decisions. We're no longer under pressure. COVID and we're in good shape now. "
"Everything falls into place"
The future of Formula 1, and in particular the future income structure as well as the establishment of a spending cap, are also grounds for satisfaction and hope for McLaren. While the opportunities will inevitably be for everyone, Brown believes his team is in a good position to take advantage of this new situation.
“There is nothing automatic, but I think if you look at how everything is falling into place for McLaren it is going as hoped. We have Andreas [Seidl, the main team], who does great work with the whole team. We have two great riders at the moment. We will have an extraordinary line-up of riders in the future [with the arrival of Daniel Ricciardo in place of Carlos Sainz, editor's note]. sponsorship are all met and exceeded, and we have big brands: Dell, Coca-Cola, BAT, Arrow. "
"The morale is really good and the results are good. So everything is falling into place, although obviously you know weekends like Mugello that remind you that it is not that simple. And then you have the overall level, with the discipline repositioning itself in McLaren's comfort zone. So it all comes together. It's going to take time, but we're excited. "
"We are catching up"
Even if the team is not at the level of Mercedes and Red Bull in terms of infrastructure, and will suffer the delay of the arrival of its new wind tunnel and its new simulator, Brown does not see these events stopping the progress. from the manufacturer. "These are things that will allow us to continuously improve. But we are already in a wind tunnel. We have simulators. We already have CFD."
"We have just, I think, under-invested in CAPEX [spending on equipment, editor's note] for the last 5/6/7 years. And now we are catching up. So I think everything is falling into place at about the same pace. I believe 2021 will be like 2020 for everyone, but 2022 will be a good year. I also think it will take a little while before the budget cap kicks in and our income increase. "
“For me, it's like we're on a five-year adventure, and we're in year two. We're kind of on track to get to where we want to be. But I'm not considering that this is a simple change of course and that next year or 2022 we will suddenly fight for the championship. "
See as well :