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McLaren considering sale of a minority stake in F1 team

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McLaren is considering selling a minority stake in its once-dominant Formula One team to raise funds to help the company weather the COVID-19 crisis, Sky News reported on Wednesday.

It said the proposal was at a "conceptual stage" alongside other options, including raising capital from existing bondholders.

There was no immediate comment from McLaren.

Bahrain's Mumtalakat holding company is the majority shareholder in McLaren Group, with a 56% stake, followed by the TAG Group led by Saudi-born businessman Mansour Ojjeh with 14%. Canadian businessman Michael Latifi acquired a stake of around 10% in 2018.

McLaren finished fourth overall last season with Spaniard Carlos Sainz, who is joining Ferrari next year, and Britain's Lando Norris.

The Woking-based outfit, winners of eight constructors' championships, last won a grand prix in 2012 and a title, with now six times world champion Lewis Hamilton, in 2008.

The coronavirus pandemic has hit the sportscar maker hard, with sales plunging during the factory shutdown. The company announced 1,200 redundancies in May under a group-wide restructuring.

The group -- which is made up of the Automotive, Racing and Applied divisions -- saw its pre-tax loss balloon to 133 million pounds ($166.88 million) in the first quarter of 2020 from a previous 18 million.

McLaren said then that it was "looking at a number of potential financing alternatives, secured and unsecured, of up to 275 million pounds equivalent to strengthen its liquidity position."

Formula One is introducing a $145 million annual budget cap next year, falling subsequently to $135 million, which should help teams such as McLaren compete on a sustainable basis.

Old rivals Williams, also once-dominant but now struggling financially, are also considering a range of options including the sale of their team.

The delayed season is due to start in Austria on July 5 without spectators.