McLaren, Baku City Circuit, 2018

McLaren receives £200 million cash injection from company linked to F2 driver Latifi

2018 F1 season

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McLaren Group, the holding company for McLaren Racing and McLaren Automotive after the company’s restructure in the wake of the departure of former dual shareholder Ron Dennis, has received a capital injection of £203.8m, made by Nidala (BVI) Limited to purchase 888,135 ordinary shares in the Group.

A McLaren spokesperson would not disclose the shareholders of the British Virgin Isles-based entity, saying, “We aren’t at liberty to disclose details of the investor. This is, as you will know, not uncommon practice.”

However, RaceFans understands that Michael Latifi, CEO of major Canadian food conglomerate Sofina and father of F2 racer and current Force India test driver Nicholas Latifi, has interests in Nidala.

Nidala is thought to stand for Nicholas Daniel Latifi. The McLaren spokesperson also did not comment on whether a drive for the 22-year-old is a condition of the investment.

During a briefing in Barcelona, McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown told journalists that McLaren was financially secure, saying “Our shareholders have been in the sport a long time. They completely understand the sport.

Nihcolas Latifi, DAMS, F2, 2018
Latifi is backed by Sofina
“If you look at the sponsorship that’s come in to Formula 1 teams this year we’ve brought in more new partners than anyone else. They’re patient, understanding, know the sport. We all want to bring in as many sponsor partners as possible, but they also know it’s not that easy.

“They give us what we need to go racing. They continue to invest in the racing team. So the more we bring in the more we can get. But we’re not strapped for money.”

Although McLaren currently lacks a headline partner and the flanks of its cars are bare, the team sports an allegiance with Kimoa, the clothing brand created by driver Fernando Alonso.

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2018 F1 season

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 55 comments on “McLaren receives £200 million cash injection from company linked to F2 driver Latifi”

    1. Anything Lawrence Stroll can do in the battle of the Canadian billionaires getting their rubbish sons into F1, I can do better…

      1. Just saying, Lance has won championships on every junior series he has gone. You can’t say same about Latifi. he has not won a single championship.

        1. That’s a great point. Stroll has only been terribly disappointing in F1, but he does have credentials. Latifi is more like Sirotkin…

          1. @ajpennypacker, I’d say that was more of an insult to Sirotkin, as he has a vastly better record in junior series than Latifi does – Sirotkin has actually won championships on the way up into F1, and he’s managed as many wins in a single GP2 season as Latifi has managed in his entire career.

            Some might compare him to Ericsson, but again I feel that would be harsh on Ericsson given that he’s also got a better record in junior series, and at least he’s managed some creditable results in F1 (such as his points finish in Bahrain this year).

            No, Latifi comes across as being much more like the sort of mediocre pay drivers that were endemic in F1 in the 1990’s – he’s probably closer to somebody like Paolo Barilla.

      2. Are you allowed to refer to them as “sons” in Canada anymore?

    2. O Canada!
      Our home and native land!
      True patriot love in all of us command.
      With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
      The True North strong and (not very) free!

        1. Lol, including the new wording in our anthem.

    3. I imagine Stoffel Van Dorne must feel pretty uncomfortable about now…

    4. Van Doorne, sorry for the mis-spelling.

      1. Vandoorne even ;)

        Latifi does not have the required superlicense points and it is unlikely he will ever get to that point.

    5. That’s a lot of money
      Why not share it amongst all the teams.
      More likely to get a pay driver in that way..

      Seriously though this sport really needs a cost cap for even the slightest bit of equality across the grid.

    6. Trying out that successfull Williams route?

    7. “The McLaren spokesperson also did not comment on whether a drive for the 22-year-old is a condition of the investment.” – I would expect a categorical “no” as a reply to that question. Worrisome.

      1. Andrew in Atlanta
        19th May 2018, 16:28

        I think now a no comment is the only safe route. It’s not as worrisome as in the past as any comments can, and do, get taken it of context and extrapolated to mean something entirely different. I expect all PR trained people to say no comment 99% of the time unless they’re making an announcement.

    8. It be a damn shame if Lafiti buys a ride in McLaren, this happens and me being a lifelong fan of the team will be over:(

      yeah yeah I know they really care lol.

      1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        19th May 2018, 16:48

        Indeed. Lando is due a ride on merit, and Stoffel deserves to keep his seat. Sad to see

        1. Elaborate on how Vandoorne deserves to keep his seat.

          1. Vandoorne has done very well, probably as good as any rookie can against the driver many think is the best of the last 10-13 years. Lando Norris would probably be in a similar position to Stoffel against Alonso.

            1. Anything noteworthy from Vandoorne since he started driving a Mclaren?

            2. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
              20th May 2018, 14:00

              kpcart +1

            3. As a clear N° 2 driver, he does wat is expected of him: finish races, doing the mileage. Receiving the updates to the car at least a GP later than Alo, keeping his nose clean, driving a car that suits Alonso, but probably no-one else… Last year the Mclaren was a three legged donkey, and this years is still a slow car.
              Last year he finished three times where Alo parked a car with an empty tank. 2018 is a bit disappointing, but that’s to be expected with a midfield as closely matched.

    9. Zak must be resting a bit easier now.

    10. and current Force India driver Nicholas Latifi

      I’m sure you mean development driver, Keith :P

    11. Crazy. Why didn’t Latifi buy Force India instead?

      1. Just as with a car, you can buy it but then you have to be able to afford to run it. Imagine what would happen if anyone bought FI and then the current sponsorship fell through…..ñ

      2. Because McLaren have a future in F1, Force India don’t, unfortunately.

    12. Worrisome that Norris and de Vries may not get there no matter their performance

      1. DeVries is not going to make it, he’s took too long to climb the ladder and I’d say Norris is the man acceding currently.

    13. ForzaAlonsoF1
      19th May 2018, 19:07

      Surely Kimoa aren’t a paid sponsor, rather they’ve plastered the logo as part of an agreement to appease Fernando or is part of a contract clause. Anyone know?

      1. Im sure it will be a trade off with respect to his salary. Alonso’s 40 million a year salary was being paid/or partially paid for by Honda, with out the factory backing, Mclaren cant afford that. Hence Alonso receives free advertising for his fledgling brand to make up the difference.

    14. Lol, those prices, 200 milion for a race seat? Then again buying McLaren shares seem potenially smart thing to do. Then the question is, do they replace Alonso?

      That would be a straight up Williams path. Midfield to backmarkers in one season.

    15. No driver makes it to the top levels without serious financial backing. The extremely talented drivers tend to be able to attract significant sponsorship, but it also depends where they are from. Canadian drivers will never be able to attract the same kind of sponsorship that European ones can, and that’s why the only Canadians to make it are those with rich families.
      Things were different before tobacco sponsorship was banned, but current drivers were still in diapers back then.

      1. There’s backing, and then there’s $200million. It appears all you need to grab a drive in F1 is billionaire parents. Which is the historic base of the sport I guess, rich lads play toys, I just assumed we were headed in a different direction, that we wanted to see pure racing genius on the grid rather than a couple of spoilt brats with nothing else to do with their time. I don’t see McLaren being World Champs any more than I do Williams, so I guess they just have to survive however they can. Which is an utterly heartbreaking sentence to write about these once gladiators of the sport.

    16. VAN is allowed to stay if ALO goes to Haas. If not then VAN is out next season – Mclaren is icecold about their drivers..

      And to be honest- VAN started as a replacement his first race and did well. But since then he has been so disspointing – can’t even remember when he outperformed ALO on pure racepace..did he ever had a great race ?

      1. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
        19th May 2018, 21:05

        ALO to Haas? Wait, what?
        Would be hilarious though, Fernando Alonso leaving Ferrari for Mclaren only to later land a seat in a Ferrari sister car.

        1. +1 Don’t know what that guy was on!

      2. Mickey's Miniature Grandpa
        19th May 2018, 22:55

        I’m not sure it’s fair to make that comparison in the same way one might with a newcomer joining a lower midfield team (ok McLaren has been lower midfield but you know what I mean) alongside someone like Grosjean or Perez. In that scenario, you’d expect a rising star driver to beat his team-mate a few times over the course of a season. But with someone of Alonso’s calibre on the other side of the garage (when was the last time he had an ‘off’ day?)… maybe not.

      3. Alonso said he will finish his f1 career with McLaren.

        1. He said that about Ferrari as well!

    17. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
      19th May 2018, 21:03

      Didn’t Mclaren recently start investing in series other than F1? Can this be linked to that, maybe? If so, there are other options here than Latifi getting a seat in the F1 team.

      1. McLaren are investing in F1 first and foremost… Buying Renault engines.

        Then in GT3 in 2019 and also GT4, as far as I know.

      2. Its possible. This could be the price Latifi had to pay for a United Autosport seat in some series.

    18. everyone thinks this is all about the son getting a drive in McLaren. you need to realise to needs to get superlicense points first. this is more likely just a smart thinking investment, with McLaren likely to soon join Indycar. his son will sooner get a McLaren indycar drive than an f1 drive.

    19. I would be very surprised if Mclaren put Latifi into one of its F1 seats.

      Perhaps Michael Latifi is looking to expand his company? Use Mclaren as a platform to advertise? With Zak Brown looking to diversify Mclaren’s racing portfolio into Indycar and Le Mans, this could be a boon for companies looking to gain brand exposure. Depending on how the agreement is structured, 200 million to become a significant shareholder in Mclaren (including the automotive side of things?) along with sponsorship across various racing platforms is a pretty good deal. No?

      Plus, there may be a deal in the for Nick Latifi to become a F1 Test/Development Driver and/or drive for Mclaren in Indycar/Le Mans (if and when).

      1. @jaymenon10 To be clear: at no stage did we state that Latifi was in line for a McLaren seat, whether as racer or tester; merely that Nidala BVI Ltd – likely an anagram for his full names, and thus intriguing – to which his father is linked by our (meticulous) sources, had made the £200m investment in McLaren Group.

        We would have been remiss had we not asked McLaren to comment on whether a seat of sorts was part of the deal. The spokesperson chose not to comment on any aspect of our enquiry – probably because any comment either way would have breached non-disclosure clauses.

        1. @dieterrencken, it seems to me that a great deal of posters on this thread seem to have gone “he’s bought into McLaren – that must mean he’s trying to buy himself a seat” without considering some of the other options.

          After all, it’s quite possible that he might be seeing this as a good time to get in on McLaren Automotive, which is now a fully owned subsidiary of McLaren Group. The automotive division at McLaren has been doing extremely well in the past few years – 2016 alone saw sales rise more than 40% – so it’s equally possible that Latifi might just fancy getting a stake in a company whose got a very profitable automotive sector that’s doing quite well.

          It probably also suits Zak Brown if, as has recently been suggested, he’s looking to increase McLaren’s presence in North America as well – a figure like Latifi might be useful to have on board.

          1. A quick look at Google News suggests that many of the ‘scraper’ websites have done that, too…

        2. @dieterrencken Yes agreed. I was responding to the general flavour of the posters suggesting that Latifi was probably getting a race seat, which I find to be highly unlikely.

          This seems to be a business deal, not so much a Stroll-Williams type arrangement. Still, it is reasonable to speculate that Nick Latifi may be getting a non-F1 related drive in a future Mclaren program..haha..thats what we do, speculate!

    20. Latifi to McLaren’s Indy Car? or Alonso to McLaren’s Indy Car and Latifi to F1?

    21. Could it be that ₦i¢ho£д$ £д₮iƒi will join £д₦¢€ $₮₹0££ on the F1 grid?

    22. Pool the CDN$, have Stroll, Latifi and their Father’s influence$ into 1 team, and you might have a decent team, at least in terms of resources. To be fair they are decent drivers, albeit I was never hugely excited by them, and I am Canadian!

    23. Tough to say what is happening at Mclaren with Fred and Flavio’s money laundering company Kimoa and Arab money of questionable sources probably looking for a new home.

    24. Would rather put my money in bitcoins..

      Has Mclaren chosen the same path as williams..

      It all went wrong when Alonso entered the team.. they actually took a podium the year before – think he is a good driver but he is pure poison for a team…too expensive and too much bad behaviour and selling his team… my opinion sorry all Alonso fans out there..

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