Zak Brown, Abu Dhabi GP 2019
© RV Press
Zak Brown insists that selling McLaren’s factory for about $350 million is a “very good decision”.
The American, who emerged as the famous brand’s supremo in the wake of a power struggle and Ron Dennis’ departure some years ago, says the money can be used more wisely.
“I think most companies in the world do not own real estate themselves. They’re tenants,” Brown told formel.de.
“We are talking about a lot of money, and it’s not a very productive use of that when you’re investing in your business,” he added.
“So we’re going to sell it to someone, and then we’re going to get an extremely long lease. We’ll invest that money in our business to grow it.
“We’re not a real estate company, we’re a racing team and an automotive company so I think it is a very good decision.”
On the face of it, though, selling the factory – on top of laying off some 1200 staff earlier this year – appears to indicate financial trouble at McLaren.
Brown denies that.
“From a cash flow perspective, we are doing well,” he insists, although he admits that the corona crisis “drained a lot of cash” from the business.
“We have some debt and now (executive chairman) Paul (Walsh) is making decisions to improve our bottom line.”
Brown also clarified that the finances of McLaren’s Formula 1 team and the struggling road car division are entirely separate.
“What happens in racing has no impact on automotive, and vice versa,” he insists.
However, he does admit that it is “a major concern for everyone” that the current covid-19 pandemic is likely to race into 2021.
“I do expect that Covid will continue to have some impact in 2021, yes,” said Brown.