McLaren to start season without title sponsor
By Alan Baldwin
WOKING, England (Reuters) - McLaren will start the Formula One season without a title sponsor but still expect to have one this year, group chief executive Ron Dennis said on Thursday.
"Our cars will not feature a title sponsor at the first event," he told reporters at the McLaren factory ahead of the season-opener in Australia next week.
"But they will definitely feature a title sponsor some time at the next few races."
McLaren were sponsored by mobile telecoms giant Vodafone until the end of last year. They had planned to reveal a new title partner in December but the appointed day came and went without any announcement.
The team had their first season without a podium since 1980 last year, a failure that led to a management restricting with former principal and minority shareholder Dennis reasserting himself.
Dennis, 66, said the formal title of team principal had been scrapped and would not discuss the fate of former incumbent Martin Whitmarsh, although he said they had been in touch and remained friends.
The group chief executive painted a bright financial future for the team, the second most successful in F1 history after Ferrari in terms of race wins and total titles, and compared McLaren to currently ailing Manchester United. Continued...