The group McLaren was hit hard by the coronavirus crisis, with the cancellation of many F1 Grands Prix and the drop in car sales. A hearing was recently granted to him in court in order to validate a financing plan requiring the release of certain assets, in particular his collection of historic cars. The company then expressed the urgency of its request, having to find £ 280m (€ 306m) by July 17 in order to avoid any risk of "cash crisis" and a "destructive insolvency".
McLaren has finally overcome this problem with a £ 150m (€ 164m) loan from the National Bank of Bahrain, which will give the company stability before the resumption of the Grand Prix and vehicle production . And despite the concern that such legal maneuvers can cause, Andreas Seidl ensures that the future of the stable has never been threatened.
"Zak (Brown) and I having known what was really going on, we were in danger of not being able to continue"says the team manager. "McLaren's presence on the grid next year has therefore never been in doubt. I talk to Zak all the time, he always kept me up to date on what was happening on the financial side. Ultimately, it was about finding the best financial option to get through the crisis and make sure we were in the best possible position after it. "
The loan from the Bahraini bank was therefore very positively received by the team, which was finally able to focus on its main activity. "I think it's a boost, an additional motivation for the whole team", continues Seidl. "We can once again focus fully on what we prefer to do and what we do best: develop a good racing car, produce it and race with it."
When Motorsport.com asked him if these financial problems had an impact on the team in the short term, perhaps by preventing him from investing in developments in the car, the German wants to be reassuring: "The financial difficulties we had, the measures we took very early with the salary cuts, the technical unemployment parallel to the closure of the factory, all that did not really affect us for this year or for the year next."
"We are staying the course of the plan established this winter", he adds. "We plan to make changes to the car regularly from Austria, and at the same time we are working hard on preparing the car for next year, the main subject obviously being the integration of the Mercedes power unit. "
It was more in the long term that the coronavirus crisis had an impact on McLaren's hopes of returning to the forefront, as major work such as the construction of a new wind tunnel and a new simulator had been halted. Seidl is now working to get them back as soon as possible, but due to the uncertainty hanging over the 2020 calendar, McLaren remains in the dark about its budget.
"At the start of the crisis, we also had to pause all the infrastructure projects we were working on. And even now, not knowing exactly what our income will look like this year, we remain cautious. We just have to wait to get the green light again. As you can imagine, I’m working to re-activate these various infrastructure measures as soon as possible. because we just have a deficit compared to the top teams in this area ", he concludes.
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