Although the three years that McLaren spent stuck in a rut with Honda didn’t have a financial impact on it, the independent Formula One team has opted not to sign a title sponsor ahead of the 2018 season. But that isn’t because it’s having trouble closing a deal.
McLaren executive director Zak Brown revealed Tuesday that the outfit decided not to sell its naming rights because it wishes to further develop its own brand, according to RACER. Brown, upon being named Ron Dennis’ replacement, said securing a title sponsor was near the top of his to-do list, though he has since reconsidered doing so.
Although the team has a history of signing big-name companies, such as Marlboro and Vodafone, as its title sponsor, all of those deals were signed when McLaren solely was a motorsport outfit. Since 2012, however, McLaren also is a supercar manufacturer, forcing it to take a more Scuderia Ferrari-like approach to branding.
“I think people can make it look like, ‘Oh, they didn’t get a title sponsor!’ No, I’ve come in and that’s my area of expertise,” Brown told RACER. “Yes I want the car looking just like it did in the good old days of Vodafone and Marlboro and blah blah blah, but I don’t really want a name before McLaren, because then when you go out into the marketplace and you’re building the McLaren brand you’ve got to bring along another brand with you that could change again in three or five years.”
Consistency isn’t the only reason McLaren has shied away from bringing a name partner onboard, however.
Brown also noted that the nature of F1 detracts from the value of such deals for the sponsors themselves.
“And unlike NASCAR, where Jeff Gordon gets out of the car and calls it his DuPont Chevrolet, Fernando Alonso or Lewis Hamilton don’t get out of the car and call it the Vodafone McLaren or Petronas Mercedes,” Brown said.
Brown reportedly aims to offer a different type of primary sponsorship, opting to sell fully integrated branding on the car, without the naming component.
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