McLaren has confirmed that it will not reveal the details of a new title sponsor when it launches its 2014 challenger on Friday.
The team has been on the hunt for major sponsor to replace Vodafone, which confirmed it was not renewing its seven-year title sponsorship of the Woking team.
While the latest announcement has set tongues (and fingers on keyboards) wagging, the team has been keen to play down any significance of this announcement, assuring fans and shareholders that it still has the biggest operating budget in its history.
Nonetheless, it all seems rather odd. The team has known of Vodafone’s departure for the last ten months, and confirmed before the end of the season that it would confirm details of a replacement sponsor on December 2. That announcement never came.
While logic would suggest that the replacement deal may have perhaps fallen through, the more likely scenario is that the team and sponsor has decided to delay the announcement until a more opportune time guaranteed to give it maximum media coverage.
The team must have negotiated some sort of compensation from this sponsor in lieu of the delayed announcement – as no other sponsor would want to sign on for a single year – but with the 2014 season effectively being a transition year until Honda joins as the outfit’s engine partner in 2015, perhaps this would justify the delay.
Our sources tell us that the team’s new title sponsor is the Japanese electronics giant, Sony, but the team is remaining tight-lipped for now…