McLaren's $100m question

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The Independent Online

The McLaren Formula One motor racing team could be forced to secure a mortgage on its assets and future revenues to cover a $100m (£50m) fine it was handed last Thursday for possessing intellectual property belonging to its rival Ferrari.

The German auto giant Mercedes-Benz owns 40 per cent of the McLaren Group, with 30 per cent in the hands of the Bahraini state investment vehicle Mumtalakat Holdings and the remainder split between team boss Ron Dennis and his business partner Mansour Ojjeh.

The Formula One team has just £2.5m cash in the bank but is debt free and in sound financial health, which may encourage its owners to consider a mortgage rather than forking out for the fine themselves. The team made a £4.9m profit on turnover of £113.3m, according to its latest accounts.

This year, McLaren is believed to be receiving around £77m in sponsorship, with an estimated £33m alone coming from Vodafone. If its championship leading driver Lewis Hamilton wins the title, sponsorship will soar.