New McLaren executive director Zak Brown says it is a “difficult environment” to try and secure a new title sponsor for the team at present.
Brown is due to start work with McLaren this month and made clear during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend that one of his priorities was to find a new title sponsor for the team by the 2018 season. Having paired sponsors with McLaren in his previous role at Just Marketing International, Brown is aware of the challenges he faces and says the way other big teams treat title sponsorship shows how difficult the market is at present.
“It’s a difficult environment for all of us,” Brown said. “Red Bull had a title sponsor, they don’t now, it’s themselves. Ferrari go about things a little bit differently and then obviously Mercedes has been fortunate enough to have a title partner for some time.
“I think there are some serious headwinds out there in this world – whether its Brexit or the US election – and so it’s a difficult environment. It’s not an inexpensive sponsorship but it is great value and global, so when you break it down it’s money very well spent.
“But I’ve not been on the inside, so I don’t know how many near misses there have been and we’ve had a couple of close opportunities. So it’s hard, it’s very hard. By no means do I have a magic wand and think that having a title sponsor in 2018 is going to be an easy feat.”
And while Brown acknowledges he has put McLaren in touch with potential major sponsors in the past, he is hopeful being part of the team will allow him to be even more successful.
“I’ve not been looking for a title sponsor for McLaren as part of a day job. At JMI we are out there and we don’t look after any particular team. What we tend to do is sit in front of corporations, understand what their needs are and try to direct them in front of the team that happens to be a good fit.
“We’ve got a lot of logos on other racing teams and we were responsible for quite a few here at McLaren and I think the difference now will be that I have got the shirt on and I have the business card and I am going to but a tremendous amount of effort into that.
“Hopefully 100 percent time versus part time will be the difference between us being able to deliver one as JMI and us delivering one as a McLaren employee.”
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