Dennis: McLaren is the F1 Man Utd.

The missing title sponsor from the side of the McLaren car has been a topic of debate ever since Vodafone left many moons ago. Would McLaren get a new title sponsor and when? Today, McLaren boss, Ron Dennis, says that the entire concept of a “title sponsor” is dead as AUTOSPORT revealed:

“Title sponsorship doesn’t exist any more as a concept,” said Dennis. “If you look at what title sponsorship would normally be, it would be somewhere between 40-50 per cent of your budget.”

Clearly the cost of the sport has increased significantly leaving the old concept of a title sponsor out of reach if we are talking about 50% of a team’s budget. Rons says that breaking the space on a car down to smaller pieces and aligning yourself with more sponsors with a shared philosophy is part of the answer but he won’t under-sell the space on his cars:

“I feel a bit like Manchester United, which has had a run of crappy football games and gone down in the league. I still think we are Man Utd, I still think that we can come along and say ‘will you sponsor us? We are still Man Utd’.

“The last thing you should do is suddenly start doing deals that are last place in the league table. That is maybe flawed, but I don’t think so. That is the way I think.”

It’s yet another sign of the changing times in Formula 1 when sponsors are not flocking to the sport and yet there is compelling reasons that F1 is still one of the better marketing investment given cost-per-view metrics.

In McLaren’s case, they have created alternative businesses and now the F1 program becomes a marketing tool for their road cars and technology divisions. Quite a reversal from the days of tobacco money lavishly spent on their red and white cars.


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