McLaren CEO Ron Dennis has confirmed that the team will run with a title sponsor in 2014, albeit not for the first few races as a deal is finalized and secured.
Having cut ties with Vodafone at the end of last season, the team did initially plan to confirm its new title sponsor on December 2. However, this date passed and no announcement was made, suggesting that Telmex was in line to take up the mantle, but these plans were scuppered following Sergio Perez’s surprise sacking after just one year at Woking.
Although the MP4-29 has run with a rather empty chrome livery during testing, Dennis – who returned as CEO at McLaren in January – confirmed to the media yesterday that a title sponsor would be announced in due course.
“Our cars will not feature a title sponsor at the first event,” he said. “But it will definitely feature a title sponsor in the next few events.”
Dennis revealed that a number of low offers had been put forward following the team’s worst season since 1980, but he is unwilling to accept a knock-down price based on form alone, nor a one-year deal ahead of Honda’s arrival in 2015.
“When you have a run of poor results people push the rate card down – I won’t accept that,” Dennis explained.
“I know what this company is. I know what this grand prix team can achieve and that requires the correct recognition when it comes to the commercial relationship with the principal sponsor. We turned away stopgaps.”
Having impressed during winter testing, 2014 could be a more fruitful year for McLaren as 2009 world champion Jenson Button is joined by young starlet Kevin Magnussen. The Dane won the Formula Renault 3.5 title in 2013, and has been tipped as a star for the future.
Furthermore, with Dennis also returning to the helm at McLaren, some of the team’s ‘old values’ and attitude could be restored for the new year.