McLaren Technology Centre

McLaren gets £150 million loan from Bahrain bank

2020 F1 season

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The McLaren Group, which owns the McLaren Formula 1 team, is to receive a loan of £150 million from the National Bank of Bahrain.

The loan was confirmed by the bank in a statement on Monday.

McLaren is seeking additional sources of funding due to the economic impact of the pandemic. Last month it announced extensive job cuts involving around 1,200 of its 4,000-strong workforce. A smaller number of staff, around 70, are to leave the Racing division which includes its F1 team.

The Bahrain sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat is the majority shareholder in the group.

McLaren’s earnings from Formula 1 have declined in recent years due to a series of poor results. It slipped as low as ninth in the constructors’ championship standings in 2015 and 2017 as it struggled with an uncompetitive Honda power unit.

Its switch to Renault power in 2018 only lifted it as high as sixth in the championship that year. However a much improved 2019 campaign, with a new driver line-up of Carlos Sainz Jnr and Lando Norris, saw the team rise to fourth place and score its first podium finish for five years.

The team is one of just five which receives bonus payments under F1’s prize money structure, though they are worth considerably less than those received by Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes.

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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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7 comments on “McLaren gets £150 million loan from Bahrain bank”

  1. McLaren’s earnings from Formula 1 have declined in recent years due to a series of poor results. It slipped as low as ninth in the constructors’ championship standings in 2015 and 2017 as it struggled with an uncompetitive Honda power unit.

    that’s a bit simple..i.e. it was a bad design and bad management that formed the other parts of the equation.

    1. erikje, whilst the car might have had flaws, in 2015 the power unit was definitely uncompetitive – mainly because it seems that Honda’s original talks with McLaren were based on returning in 2016, until Ron Dennis decided that he wanted to bring that forward to 2015 instead.

      That meant that the power units fitted to the car in 2015 were badly under-developed, as they weren’t meant to have been used in 2015 – those units were originally meant to be dyno testing units and were nowhere near ready to be fitted to a car.

      1. Add to that the fact that Honda decided to pursue its own design, not willing to walk on the steps of others. It seems their first design still used conventional spark ignition.
        Even when they switched to pre ignition chamber, the transition from the working 1 cilinder prototype to the actual V6 added so much vibration that the electronics and gearbox couldn’t cope with it.
        Under pressure from McLaren, they gave up and hired a third party (undisclosed) to get them up to speed with the others.
        After that, it’s the steady ramp up we’re seeing.
        But that’s the path every manufacturer took after the shocking 2014 Mercedes PU. Ferrari got Mahler’s help and we’re much more competitive at the end of 2015. Renault took the Ilmor road and was there in 2016. Honda only started being fast and reliable around 2017.

        1. From what Ive read, it would appear that majority of the issues that Honda had stemmed from the infamous “Size Zero” concept. This was the concept that place the turbo in the Vee of the engine. I believe the architecture of this concept was design with input from Mclaren, with the idea of keeping the read packaging of the car as tight as possible. After 2016, Honda all but abandoned the concept, as it proved to be not competitive.

          They basically restarted in 2017, and things didnt go well, hence the reason for them being ditched. At the same time, Mclaren were kidding themselves that they had the best chassis on the grid, and were only being held back by the engine!

          1. I have to counter that @jeymenon10 with the fact that Honda themselves thought that their concept would work and make the Size Zero feasable. That was one of the reasons McLaren were confident they could go for this concept in the first place.

            That they later found out they couldn’t spin the generator high enough because it would just fail cannot be just blamed on McLaren for taking what Honda offered and then pushing the timeline and building their concept upon that idea.

            Had Honda been ableto make it work, that engine would have been really great and innovative. Shame it did not work.

  2. To be fair the use of the word “as” can be taken as “whilst” in that context.

  3. Ah, so this is the payment they had arranged to be safe in case that lawsuit does not bring any (immediate) positive results.

    I guess it is better to have the Bahraini government (as they are part owner) step in and spend the money than the UK government handing it out.

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