Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Hockenheimring, 2018

McLaren has added more sponsors than any other team in 2018 – Brown

2018 F1 season

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McLaren Group CEO Zak Brown says he has hit his target for increasing sponsorship revenue and the team has brought in more new backers than any of its Formula 1 rivals.

However he admitted the team faces a significant shortfall in its budget for this season.

“Our performance hasn’t helped,” he told RaceFans in an exclusive interview. “And especially don’t forget this year you sell last year, so last year was one of the worst years,” he added. McLaren finished ninth in the constructors’ championship last year.

However Brown said he’s “hit my number” in terms of the amount of revenue he needed to bring in from sponsorship.

“I’ve hit what I said I would do. And then we’ve got to keep growing it. The car has got lots of space, it started with lots of space. The companies we’ve put on have been outstanding: Dell Technologies, Petrobras, being high-quality entities, and we’re keeping pushing.”

Brown said the extent of advertising on the car doesn’t necessarily reflect how lucrative the deals have been.

“There’s a perception that goes back 10, 20 years of stickers on the cars, which is that ‘We’ll equate the size of what the sticker on the car is to what we think the money is’. That just isn’t the case these days. And certainly not for us. Because the partnerships run a lot deeper than just straightforward a logo on the car.”

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Zak Brown, McLaren, 2017
Brown: “I’ve hit what I said I would do”
“If you’re measuring off outward activation, if that sponsor’s primary objectives are something like a [business-to-business] or employees’ engagement, you’re not necessarily going to see that,” he explained.

“We don’t festoon the car with logos, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we don’t have substantive, long-term partners onboard.”

Acquiring new sponsors in F1 is challenging for all teams and the sport’s promoters, said Brown.

“Fortunately we’ve got very, very committed shareholders who also understand Formula One hasn’t really announced a sponsor. They’ve done some media. We haven’t seen a new trackside partner.

“Ferrari’s done one deal. Mercedes has traded one deal. So I think fortunately our shareholders and myself know that it’s not going to… it just doesn’t happen.

“I know that’s my background and therefore everyone is expecting every inch of the car to be sold. The reality is we have done five deals, put aside Kimoa. I haven’t seen another team do more than two. So we are deliberating.”

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Don’t miss our exclusive, in-depth interview with Zak Brown in Dieter’s weekly column RacingLines later today on RaceFans.

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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  • 33 comments on “McLaren has added more sponsors than any other team in 2018 – Brown”

    1. On track performance is terrible, so you have to talk up how many sponsors you have. Gotta win at something, I guess.

    2. Zak talking about his achievements and meeting his target sounds like a defense on his current position… Is he under threat of being sacked? Zak the sacked? maybe he is next after Eric…

      Anyway his “Added” sponsors are more like loose change, they are minor sponsors, McLaren still looks empty on first look, it’s just orange.

      1. @chris I was thinking the same.

        1. McLaren still looks empty on first look, it’s just orange.

          They might’ve done a deal with the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
          And look how much orange in the stands now :P

      2. If you read what zak said:
        ““We don’t festoon the car with logos, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we don’t have substantive, long-term partners onboard.”
        Sponsorship is more than just stickers on the car.

        1. I just find it amusing, that he says they’ve done five deals, yet he can only name two sponsors (aside Kimoa, which he actually name-checks). If there are only five and you list examples, why not name them all? Can’t he remember the other three? Or are they really negligible, and contradict the way he is trumping up his achievement of signing them? In the end, all of this comes off rather awkward and indeed like he is trying to defend himself with everything he’s got.

          1. He probably did 5 deals, but after 2 years Sack Brown McLaren has the same amount of sponsors and a naked car.
            Since 2016 they’ve lost sponsors incl.: Mobil1/Esso, KPMG, Segafredo, Santander, Johnnie Walker, CNN, Michael Kors, Sensodyne, and Nielsen.
            All more impressive than bringing on a small travel bag company or an online FX broker.

        2. @socksolid, when you pay millions of pounds as a sponsor, you definitely want your name or logo in that Car! that is no obvious, the bigger the sticker the more expensive it is, there’s an article about F1 sponsorship long ago which I cannot remember where but it’s was explained the prices for front wing, rear wing, engine cover, side pods, etc…. so Sponsor = Stickers.

          And Zack the Sacks reason “We don’t festoon the car with logos, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we don’t have substantive, long-term partners onboard.”… come on that is clear excuse that so far they haven’t signed a major sponsor till now..

          And last “Sponsorship is more than just stickers on the car.” – That only applies to Marlboro which is prohibited by law to put any markings… Even the Brake, Lubricants, rubber seals sponsor have sticker on some cars like Ferrari. In STR case and Esso, that reason might be that Honda is paying for the lubricant and fuel for the engine, so STR-Honda is a paying customer so no reason to put Esso on STR.

      3. McLaren still looks empty on first look

        You could say that about most cars on the grid…including the Mercedes.

        1. Yeah, but this is not an article about Toto boasting about sponsorship deals, is it?

          1. No, but it is proof that it is still a tough climate for teams to operate in. McLaren aren’t alone in having a tough time attracting sponsors.

          2. This is an article where Zak was asked a question about sponsors and is answering it

        2. “You could say that about most cars on the grid…including the Mercedes.” – Actually no, Mercedes is immediately visible with Petronas logo as their major sponsor and partner plus a lot of minor sponsor all around the car. Same as Ferrari.

      4. My exact thoughts. When you’re running the team and yet talk about hitting your own personal targets, that indicates that he’s trying to justify his position and performance.

    3. He goes on and on like justificating that they still don’t have a title sponsor which is the most important thing.

    4. Zak the Brown. So wrong for Mclaren

    5. Next yearthere will be even more sponsors as Carlos Sainz personal sponsors will be on board.

    6. lol… it wasn’t exactly difficult to bring in more new backers than other teams.

      Mostly because OTHER TEAMS ALREADY HAD SPONSORS.

    7. It seems by the comments few others are impressed by this bull either…

    8. …………..

      Look where your team is on the grid and in the results.

      But heyyy you did get some new sponsors. Good for you

    9. Oof. McLaren adding more sponsors than anybody else is a little bit like Lance Stroll making up more places on the first lap than anybody else.

      1. Quite an apt comparison, Derek (and to extend your example, Zak goes on to say that the Mercedes drivers barely make up a place or two, in comparison).

    10. The number of sponsors isn’t significant, it’s the amount of money they will bring.

    11. Worrying stuff at McLaren…. comparible to Williams they are in a downhill place. Partly due to the current status of F1, but luckily RB shows that (although with the help of quite an amount of money) it is possible to be upfront. So shape up and get better organised. Can’t really assess Zaks qualities other than superficially from the outside, but (from that perspective) he doesn’t come on as a strong leader, just another deal maker, short term focussed. But I could be completely wrong since I do not work at McLaren. Let’s just hope he or his successor gets McLaren up there again.

    12. Even Force India (BWT) and Sauber (Alfa Romeo) did more impressive deals than this guru.
      I don’t (nor anybody else) know how much these deals bring in. But also that could be confusing – Dell sponsors McLaren for $1 billion, and McLaren buys Dell software for $1 billion (great sales people both: huge bonuses).

      1. Toto Wolff brought the BWT deal to Force India.
        In the case of Sauber, they get money from Ferrari former owner (FIAT).

        In both cases, it’s easy to argue that Force India and Sauber didn’t do a better job than Brown, they were just lucky to be a part of a bigger plan of a wealthier team.

      2. The same BWT that says the sponsorship was really a loan?
        The Alfa logo is only on the Sauber as they’re Ferrari B (still a good deal though).
        Biggest sponsor question on the grid has got to be who takes over the Martini slot.

    13. Zak Brown is obviously a marketing expert but sponsorship in the current F1 market isn’t easy.
      He cant capture a title sponsor and that is not helping with their current performance.
      I know Ron Dennis had a bad fall out from the team but a leader like him is what then really need.

    14. All these “positive spin” press releases from them are having the opposite effect. It’s sad, every time they come out and say something positive we can all see through it straight away and the spin is having the opposite effect. If they said nothing, we would not even be talking about how bad a team they are now.

      Brown should keep quiet, i would if i were him

    15. At least Brown got to be proud for something. Since hybrid era starting they dominate in the chassis championship (ask Nando or Bouiller or check gps data😉 ). Now they’re the top of sponsor ride.
      But why they talk so much on winter and summer break with cars in garage and are silent just races end?

    16. Thomas Bennett (@felipemassadobrasil)
      23rd August 2018, 12:03

      When you didn’t have any to start with and you think it’s still impressive

    17. Are the sponsors font in the same orange as the main paint? Perhaps they show up under a fluorescent light. Joke team.

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