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McLaren could mortgage MTC and classic F1 cars to raise funds

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In the round-up: McLaren could mortgage its F1 team base and collection of past F1 cars to raise income.

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@Rafael-o wonders what Renault’s next move will be after losing Ricciardo:

I think 2021 is actually the perfect time for Ricciardo to be joining McLaren: the organisational changes from 2018 have finally picked up momentum, with the team now going forward. And Zak Brown looks to have fully settled in his role as head of McLaren, successfully transitioning the Woking squad past the Ron Dennis era.

Had Ricciardo signed for McLaren in 2019, I don’t think it would have made that much of a difference from how his actual decision (to instead join Renault) turned out; he’d have probably scored some better results, but still he would not have avoided altogether the shock of moving to the mid-field (having come from the sharper end of the grid).

As for Renault: the way I see it all this talk of either hiring Vettel or bringing back Alonso is just theatrics from Abiteboul/Prost; so that the manufacturer’s Board of Directors do not decide to withdraw, since it will seem like team management still has a plan to return the outfit to championship glory.

If the French manufacturer doesn’t pull out of F1, I get the impression they will either pirate another Red Bull-grown driver (Albon/Kyvat/Gasly) to partner Ocon; or re-sign Hulkenberg.

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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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  • 45 comments on “McLaren could mortgage MTC and classic F1 cars to raise funds”

    1. I would love nothing more than to see the return of Alonso. However, given the way he went out and talks of only wanting to return to a race winning care, it makes zero sense for him to be languashing in the midfield in a Renault car. Maybe he just really misses racing in F1. I am quite torn about this.

      1. I don’t know, it makes some sense. If he misses racing a full season in general, and in F1 in particular, Renault means plenty of midfield racing, not being stuck at the back as in the McLaren days, or getting frustrated near the front but never quite there, as at Ferrari. Plus every year away from F1 makes a return more difficult as the formula moves on and he becomes less sharp. I’m not sure about Alonso and Ocon in the same team, though. I can’t see the latter accepting the kind of treatment Alonso dished out on Massa, for example, when he went about asserting first driver status. And Alonso at Renault brings back some uncomfortable memories (Singapore 2008 specifically).

      2. He misses it alot. If you follow him on social media, all he cares about is racing and you can notice that while all the other racing divisions were a great experience he just missed f1 and its atmosphere. When he left he was still dreaming of titles. Him coming back is all about being in an f1 car and having fun driving in f1.

      3. Alonso’s mum, is that you?

        He didn’t retire from F1, he just can’t even buy a seat anymore. He’s a total pariah. And not actually quick enough to win races against a grid that is now filled with talent, unlike when he fluked his way to WDCs.

        1. Were you talking about Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton?

      4. He could save Renault’s future in f1.

      5. Renault has an off-chance (<5% probably) of nailing the 2022 regulations and becoming champion.

        Signing with Renault for two years would make sense for Alonso: he has 2021 to get back in shape in a year where the rules and cars are comparable to when he left and he then has 2022 to fight for title.

        It absolutely doesn't make sense for Renault to hire Alonso – but that's another question.

    2. The whole Alonso to Renault doesn’t make any sense. I’d honestly be very surprised if he goes there. Does he know something we dont? Renault isnt a race winning team at this point, and under their current stewardship, I dont see them becoming one anytime soon either.

      Its only going to end in tears.

      1. The longer Alonso is out of F1, but keeps talking about “plans” for next year, the more it reminds me of Kubica and his endless aborted attempts at a racing comeback (i know he eventually did get back to F1, but there were years of other racing plans where he would abort after one race, WEC springs to mind).

        Also if Alonso went back to Renault it would probably be just as disappointing as Mansell / McLaren ’95 and last just as long (but less body shaming!).

    3. Couldn’t just Ron Dennis sell his watch to fix the economy of McLaren? Or has he forgotten that team already?

      1. Well, since he got kicked out and dumped all his shares… yeah.

        1. Forgotten the team that booted him? I doubt it, but at present he’s probably more consumed by feeding those in need in the UK rather than worrying about a race team that needs a bit of cash,

      2. You’d need to sell a fair few Richard Milles for that. I think he was more a Tag man…

        1. Time for crowdfunding.

      3. In hindsight you can tell why Zak was so angry. Losing Carlos’ sponsorship is another big blow to the financials.

    4. My deepest sympathy to Esteban Ocon if this is true

      1. Im pretty sure we have wasted more years talking about Alonso’s retirement, than Ocon has actually spent in a formula1 car…

      2. @mrfill Indeed. Maybe he won’t be ‘Vandoorn’ed’, but surely not far from it.

        Will still be awesome to watch Alonso’s comeback. With another Mercedes whitewash, it might be the interesting thing going on.

      3. I think it’s the ideal scenario for Ocon. If he beats Alonso in the same car, he is guaranteed to have the Mercedes seat after Hamilton retires. And Alonso has been gone for a while, I am not sure if we can expect him to drive at his former level.

    5. Some good points in the COTD.

      1. There’s only one driver I’m rooting for to get that position at Renault. George Russell. I want to see him and Ocon driving the same car and fighting tooth and nail for Bottas’ seat.

    6. Nice comment, @rafael-o

      It’s amusing how the sequence of events that were triggered by Vettel not signing again with Ferrari might now be causing Liberty anxiety, at the thought of Renault’s board pulling them out now that they’ve lost a popular and marketable driver.

    7. I also said some similar things as COTD, and I for one really do think Renault will pull the plug at the end of the year.

      1. So sad to see mclaren wanting to sell off their rich heritage. May be due to covid but is it also to wipe anything ron dennis had a hand in? Maybe abit of both..

        1. I think it’s quite clever in a way – mortgage things now to ensure you have money to spend before the budget cap comes in. Once that hits, they can pay the money back…..

        2. Gotta pay for Ricciardo somehow.

          Expect Keith’s expose: DannyRic F1’s 2nd Richest Driver.

    8. I would love to see Vettel replace Bottas at mercedes and Bottas moving to Renault

    9. Like others above, I also don’t see the point in his Renault-return (should that happen) as he wouldn’t be able to achieve top-results there. He should only seriously attempt a return if it were Mercedes unless he’s changed his mind about solely preferring a race-winning car for a potential return as a race-driver in the series.

      I also share the same views as the COTD although concerning the last paragraph: Gasly or Kvyat more likely than Albon, though. The former, though, would have to partner Esteban Ocon, with whom he doesn’t have the greatest of a relationship due to the competition between them in go-karting back in the day, although that’s a thing of the distant past, so shouldn’t have an impact on these things.

    10. If Renault intends to end its F1 program, then Alonso is the way to go. We all saw how he sucked life out of the Mclaren, he is perfect to seal the fate of struggling french outfit.

      1. McLaren has been on a steady rise since Alonso joined, and kept momentum after he left, what are you on about? Is he a quite toxic to work with? Sure. But would any team benefit from his driving on a sunday? I would say equally sure.

        1. The biggest gain happened when he finally left… Both in terms of results and overall morale.

      2. @proteus that’s strange, because Ron Dennis is more usually blamed for that by being accused of spending years undermining Whitmarsh in order to force him out, even if it came at the expense of the performance of his team, and then feuding with Mansour Ojjeh – the co-owner of the team – before eventually trying to force Ojjeh out of the team.

        If you look at what ex-employees were saying about McLaren before Alonso went there, they made it pretty clear that the team was being riven by factionalism and arguments about Ron Dennis’s influence on the team. Ron came back and promptly alienated all of the long term supporters of the team, whilst also antagonising those who worked for the company with what was described as a “culture of fear and yes men” – if anybody deserves the blame, then Ron has to shoulder far more of it for what he did to the team when he came back.

      3. @proteus Did we not also see how he breathed life into the team he was at before McLaren? Who was that team again?

        1. You people made your minds, i see the bigger picture. Either way, i am delighted he is gone from Mclaren F1 team. The fact that no top team is interested in his services is also speaking volumes.

          The only thing he can do with forcing himself back, is to be washed away in the lower end of the grid.

    11. This week’s news alone potentially is going to give us stories for the rest of the year. Seb Vettel is going to drive for no one else but Seb Vettel, so there’s a big chance we can take Ferrari of the list of championship-candidates. Meanwhile Danny Ric has to go trough a series of races with a team he has no faith in and vice versa, possibly with Alonso waiting in the wings, eager to jump in early (on both driving and politics).
      I guess there’s a reasonable chance that this swapping of seats starts happening mid-season, maybe with Ricciardo and Vettel being put on gardening leave early and Hülkenberg/Sirotkin (??) and Giovinazzi/Wehrlein/Schumacher jumping in to fill vacant seats mid season (mid season will be after 4 races anyway ;)

    12. I wonder how open Seb would be to competing outside of F1? I think he’d be great in Indycar where everyone is a bit more aggressive like he is.

      1. He’s probably also a better driver than most Indycar drivers

      2. @petebaldwin I might be mistaken, but I don’t recall him show much interest in competing in another series – maybe a bit in sportscar racing, but I don’t think he’s shown much, if any, interest in IndyCar before.

    13. Zak Brown really tried his best recycling the Ferrari FIA agreement to distract everyone from McLaren’s serious financial troubles. First the UK government refused helping the company, now mortgages. Everyone worried with Williams but it seems the first to fall may be McLaren…

      1. Yep, I think the Honda deal has hurt them a lot. And they have some investing to do before the cost cap arrives.

    14. I can see Alonzo to Renault happening more and more – they’re the one place he’s been ‘happy’ and not upset in any significant way. I can also see Renault staying in F1 when the cost caps come in because I believe they’ve already been working on the new regs in a big way. It’s the most cost-effective way of any of the teams that are not in the top-3 making significant progress in the medium-term. But who really knows?

      I get the impression Alonzo wants to be in F1 at the transition to the new rules to have one last shot at having a car that can win races. The top-3 teams won’t hire him unless something VERY odd happens, so a top-midfield team seems a logical bet. The longer he’s out of F1 the more difficult it will be to return and be quick – and I think Alonzo would still be one of the fastest drivers in F1 if he did return.

    15. Alonso has probably missed the show. It is the kind of move that can save the Renault operation, and bring some renewed energy there. So it makes lots of sense to me. And the autobild generally is a reliable source as well.

      What I expect next is for Vettel to reach to Toto and ask him to drive the second Mercedes for free.

    16. Can someone explain what’s meant by mortgaging the technology centre? Surely they already own it? Does that mean selling their HQ???

      1. What McLaren are rumoured to be exploring is taking out a loan which is secured against their Technology Centre and their collection of historic cars – McLaren shouldn’t be selling their facilities or any cars unless they were to go bankrupt, and that looks rather unlikely to happen right now.

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