The turnover of McLaren-Mercedes is expected to fall by more than £100 million over the next two years – that is the grim prediction of team principal Ron Dennis, who nonetheless insisted that the squad will cope and that 'if the economics don't work then we will change them'.
With Honda's shock announcement at the end of last week that it is to withdraw from the top flight, Formula 1 is finally beginning to experience the full force of the economic downturn currently sweeping the globe, and though – unlike some of its rivals – McLaren is not believed to be in any immediate danger, as one of the highest-spending outfits in the sport, nor is it immune from feeling the financial pinch.
Dennis has predicted that the Woking-based concern's revenue – predominantly gained through sponsorship and advertising – will drop by more than a third as the credit crunch bites.
“Our budgets come from the advertising budgets of the companies that support us,” explained the 61-year-old – who owns a 15 per cent stake in the McLaren Group, with DaimlerChrysler controlling a further 40 per cent – in an interview with UK Sunday newspaper The Observer
. “Inevitably advertising budgets get slashed or, at least, are significantly trimmed in times of economic strife.
“We know we have to reduce our costs to cater for the inevitable downturn in income that is coming in 2010 and 2011. We predict that our turnover will drop from £280 million a year to as low as £175 million a year.
“We make no secret of the fact that we will try to do whatever it takes to be the best. It's an intensely competitive world, but if the economics don't work then we will change them.”