No title sponsor for McLaren at Friday MP4-29 launch

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McLaren’s search for a title sponsor is apparently still ongoing, as the team will not be announcing one in time for the online launch of its new MP4-29 car on Friday.

The team enjoyed a seven-year partnership with telecommunications company Vodafone before it departed at the end of last season.

However, team managing director Jonathan Neale says that things are still strong financially in Woking as they try to bounce back from one of the toughest seasons in team history.

“I’m pleased to say that McLaren Racing will have a larger operational budget available to it in 2014 than it’s had in any previous seasons…We’re in good shape,” Neale said according to the UK’s Guardian newspaper. Neale also noted that the team’s current group of sponsors remain, in his words, the “envy of the pitlane.”

In a season that was already set for many changes on the track due to the new technical regulations, McLaren itself now potentially faces even more off of it with the return of Ron Dennis as CEO.

Ever since Dennis came back to the top of McLaren, the major buzz has been centered on the future of team principal Martin Whitmarsh, who many observers expect to lose that role soon.

Neale, however, would not be drawn into revealing what Dennis may have in mind in regards to the team’s leadership, telling the Guardian: “It wouldn’t be appropriate for me to comment of their behalf.”

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”