July 6, 2015 / 2:21 PM / 4 years ago

McLaren feeling the pain on and off the track

LONDON (Reuters) - McLaren have acknowledged that their lack of Formula One success is hurting commercially in terms of lost revenues and sponsor appeal.

The sport’s second most successful team have not won since 2012 and have scored five points in nine races of a new partnership with Japanese car giant Honda.

After Sunday’s British Grand Prix, the Woking-based team are now just a weekend away from equaling their dismal 1993-97 run of 48 winless races in a row.

“You establish a brand by your success and repeated success,” McLaren’s racing director Eric Boullier told reporters at Silverstone. “McLaren by the number of wins and championships has clearly established its brand as an excellent one.

Asked about their recent poor record, he said: “Commercially it does hurt because obviously a lot of people or companies are interested in joining us but some people in their organizations may question the lack of results,” added the Frenchman.

“And I don’t think we can wait for very long any more.”

The last time Honda partnered McLaren, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, they enjoyed a dominant spell with Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna.

McLaren have won eight constructors’ championships — but none since 1998 — and 12 drivers’ titles, with the last coming in 2008 with Lewis Hamilton.

Since 1966, the team founded by New Zealander Bruce McLaren have won 182 times and taken more points than any team other than Ferrari, who have been competing unbroken in the championship since 1950.

But McLaren have lacked a title sponsor since 2013, when Vodafone left, and this season saw their worst start ever.

Formula One’s revenues are paid on a sliding scale, although McLaren also get extra in recognition of their importance to the sport.

They are currently ninth and, if the situation stays that way, some estimates have suggested they could be in line for $50 million less than last season, when they finished fifth.

“Like any partnership in the world, I am not going to tell you what we are telling each other behind the scenes,” Boullier said of relations with Honda. “We have to fight the world together as one team but the pain is real.

“So far we have a good forecast for the next years,” he said of the financial outlook. “But it (the lack of success) is going to hurt us in terms of revenue and we will have to find a way to cover this.”

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ken Ferris

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