TAG Heuer reportedly withdrawing McLaren sponsorship.
The rot at McLaren has set in ever deeper amid reports the English team is set to lose another long-term sponsor.
Watch maker TAG Heuer, which has been involved with McLaren for the last three decades, has confirmed it will switch to Red Bull for next season.
It’s the latest in a series of high profile sponsors fleeing the struggling former Formula 1 world championship winning team.
The only positive news on the sponsorship front for the team has been the announcement of champagne maker Chandon, but that is hardly a new sponsor given it’s owned by the same company which owns TAG Heuer.
The relationship with TAG Heuer began courtesy of a relationship between Ron Dennis and TAG owner Mansour Ojjeh in the early 1980s, developing to the point Ojjeh now owns 25% of McLaren.
Things reached their zenith in the mid-80s when McLaren sported TAG branded (but Porsche designed) engines.
The design of the engine was dictated by designer John Barnard, who demanded the engine be a turbo-charged V6 or V8 with a vee angle of no greater than 90 degrees.
It was the first time a team had dictated the design of an engine to a manufacturer in order to achieve better packaging and aerodynamic performance, a practice which is now common place in pit lane, and won the team three consecutive world championships from 1984.
Ironically, McLaren’s current demands of Honda, which have been made for aerodynamic purposes, are largely believed to be the root cause of the current power unit’s problems.
The team insisted on a tightly packaged rear of the car which meant Honda gave up around 25bhp from the internal combustion engine.
It also meant the size of the energy recovery system was severely impacted, which is some 250bhp off that of Mercedes.
The resulting poor on track throughout 2015 has knocked sponsors confidence but worryingly there’s another blow to come too.
By finishing ninth in the championship McLaren will receive a significantly smaller piece of Formula One’s prize money pie for 2016, meaning the money woes at Woking are only set to increase.
Formula 1 content courtesy of Velocity Magazine, Australia’s leading motorsport monthly – vmag.com.au