Motor racing: McLaren's Formula One future was never a doubt, says Seidl

LONDON (Reuters) - McLaren’s Formula One future was never in doubt despite a cash crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and now resolved by a fresh injection of funds, team principal Andreas Seidl said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: Formula One F1 - Pre Season Testing - Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain - February 28, 2020 McLaren's Carlos Sainz Jr. in action during testing REUTERS/Albert Gea/File Photo

The National Bank of Bahrain announced on Monday a 150 million pound ($184.26 million) financing facility for the McLaren Group, which includes the team and supercar manufacturer.

Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat Holding Co is McLaren’s majority shareholder.

“It was a tough period for the team, steering a team through these financial difficulties we were in,” Seidl told reporters on a Zoom call.

“The positive news we had yesterday about the funding which is in place now, is I think an extra boost, an extra motivation for all of us who are fully focused again on what we like to do most and what we do best.”

McLaren were the first team to furlough staff, with drivers Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz also taking pay cuts, and have had to implement redundancies -- a move that also reflects Formula One’s 2021 budget cap.

“With me and (McLaren Racing Chief Executive) Zak (Brown) having detailed knowledge of what was actually going on... there was never a doubt of McLaren not being on the grid next year,” said Seidl.

The financial issues had not affected this season, he added, with regular performance upgrades planned.

While some infrastructure projects had been put on hold, Seidl said he was pushing to get them going again although McLaren still had to be cautious due to uncertainty over how many races there would be and the impact on revenues.

The German suggested some headlines that triggered alarm, with talk of mortgaging assets or selling a minority stake in the team, reflected McLaren’s search for the best possible option in terms of funding.

“(It was) finding the right funding which would not only get us through this crisis but also put us in the best possible position to be competitive in the future. So I am very happy with the news from yesterday,” he said.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Christian Radnedge