Honda will not be buying a shareholding in the McLaren F1 team, according to a team spokesman, but behind the scenes there are plans afoot for a change of balance among shareholders.
A McLaren spokesman said today: “Contrary to recent media reports, Honda has informed us that it has no intention to buy into McLaren. All of Honda’s focus is on the development of its new Formula 1 power unit.”
So it is clear that Honda will not be replicating what Daimler, the parent of Mercedes Benz did, in buying a stake in the Woking outfit. When Daimler made its exit, in order to start its own F1 team in 2010, it sold its stake primarily to Mumtalakat, the Bahraini investment fund.
Now it seems that Ron Dennis is set to increase his 25% stake in the business by buying down some of Mumtalakat’s stake. Mansour Ojjeh retains a 25% stake. Ojjeh has been seriously ill but reports say that he is recovering.
Indeed, this share buy-back programme was part of the basis of Dennis’ return to the helm of the company, replacing Martin Whitmarsh, who had no shareholding.
Dennis has been working hard trying to find not only new title sponsor for the McLaren F1 team, but also a new backer to help him increase his holding in the company. So far the title sponsor has not been secured for the team.