McLaren has denied being taken over by Audi, after an Autocar source reported that the German automaker had acquired the entire group to secure it an entry into Formula 1.
In a statement, the brand said the story was “totally inaccurate,” adding: “McLaren’s technology strategy has always involved ongoing discussions and collaboration with relevant partners and suppliers, including other automakers, however, there has been no change in the ownership structure of the McLaren Group.
An Audi spokesperson had no official comment to add at this point, but Reuters reported yesterday that Audi was “open to opportunities for cooperation.” Earlier reports that BMW was interested in the Woking brand were subsequently fired by the Munich firm.
McLaren is operating under severe financial pressure despite a capital injection late last year following a refinancing worth up to £ 500million. McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt stepped down after eight years last month.
A McLaren takeover would have given Audi access to another brand of supercar alongside Lamborghini, which it controls. It would also have opened up the possibility of Audi engines powering McLaren. That would not, however, give Audi control of McLaren Applied, the group’s arm that specializes in electrification systems for the road and track, as it was sold to a private investment group earlier this year.
It is unclear what the implications of a possible Audi-McLaren merger would have been on the now finalized partnership between Rimac and Bugatti, which was designed with the aim of developing all-electric successors to the Nevera EV hypercar and the soon-to-be. the future Bugatti Chiron.
From an F1 point of view, the deal would have given the Volkswagen group, which owns Audi, direct access to entry into grand prix racing. Volkswagen has been involved in discussions over the specification of a new F1 powertrain slated for introduction in the middle of the decade and has openly considered a commitment to the pinnacle of motorsport.
Audi’s sister brand Porsche is also considering a return to F1, as new motorsport boss Thomas Laudenbach recently told Autocar.
It is believed that the most likely path for Porsche in F1 would be as a powertrain partner of an existing team, Red Bull – which is currently building its own independent powertrain department in Milton Keynes – seen as the most option. probable for such an agreement. .