August 2, 2020 / 12:42 PM / 2 days ago

The bad news is behind us, says McLaren's Brown

SILVERSTONE, England (Reuters) - McLaren are in good financial shape after a troubled start to a year turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Formula One team’s chief executive Zak Brown told reporters at the British Grand Prix.

FILE PHOTO: Formula One F1 - Russian Grand Prix - Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia - September 28, 2019 McLaren Chief Executive Officer Zak Brown REUTERS/Anton Vaganov

The McLaren Group secured a 150 million pound financing facility from the National Bank of Bahrain in June after earlier cutting staff amid plunging revenues on the luxury sportscar side.

The team have subsequently announced fresh sponsorship deals, including one with former partner Gulf Oil, with Brown saying more were in the pipeline.

“I think we’re in quite a good position now,” said the American, whose team went into Sunday’s fourth round of the season in third place in the constructors’ championship.

“The bad news is behind us, as far as it relates to all the stuff that played out the last couple of months. We’re financially healthy.

“I think we’re benefiting from being aggressive and playing offence when COVID hit as far as recognising the severity of the issues it was going to cause for the sport and for us, and so we ran towards the problems to try and address them quickly.”

British-based McLaren were the first team to furlough staff as the pandemic hit, with infrastructure projects also put on hold but since re-started.

The team have also said they are ready to sign a new commercial agreement with the sport’s owners Liberty Media and the governing FIA.

Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo has been signed from Renault for 2021, replacing Spaniard Carlos Sainz who is moving to Ferrari, alongside young Briton Lando Norris who took his first F1 podium in Austria last month.

“We’re now exactly where we want to be,” said Brown.

“Looking forward I think we’re sitting on a better business model for Formula One and for McLaren for the next journey of F1. So we’re in quite a good spot, and spirits are high.”

Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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