McLaren executive director Zak Brown believes the team can power through any commercial hits from its Honda divorce but returning to the Formula 1 podium in 2018 will be key to its plans.

After ending its partnership with Honda to switch to Renault engine for 2018, McLaren will lose out on an estimated $150 million per year which the Japanese manufacturer paid to the Woking-based squad as part of its deal.

Having confirmed its Renault switch in Singapore, Brown says McLaren’s shareholders remain confident the team can turn around its fortunes and despite being behind on its commercial plans due to the delay on its engine deal the team can recover from a painful three years.

"We have very committed shareholders that want us to win races and that is the main aim so they have given us the remit to do what it takes to win and we will work together to deal with the financial side," Brown said. "We will come to whatever financial arrangement we need to and that won’t compromise a good budget. We continue to unleash money as and when it is requested so we are not going to compromise our racing product.

“With sponsorship and decision-making time it will be typically Q4 of 2017 to Q1 of 2018. We were anticipating this so we’ve got some great leads on it. It would have been nice to announce it before the summer break as you always want more time to prepare to get sponsors but we don’t plan on using it as an excuse.

“The sport is in a great place with TV ratings up and crowd attendance is up. The vibe in the pits is good and it is great that Mercedes has competition this year so that has contributed. The sport is in a good selling environment and McLaren has a good story.

“It won’t be easy due to the magnitude of money over that period of time but I have done it before and we have a great restructured commercial team. It won’t be easy but it is achievable.”

When asked if McLaren could sustain its plans if the Renault deal doesn’t provide instant on track success for 2018, Brown says it is something the team isn't planning for but is adamant the British squad must return to the podium next year.

“Right now we are focused on next year and have a positive outlook by not trying to think through what happens if we have a bad year,” he said. “We’ll deal with that in the middle of next year if that happens.

“No team can go on forever without success. Ultimately we want a payback both sporting and fiscal.”

 

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