New McLaren executive director Zak Brown admits finding a title partner for the Woking-based outfit is one the top-priority items on his future job list.
The American businessman was confirmed at McLaren on Monday after it was reported he also had an offer to take on a role with new F1 owners Liberty Media in a senior management position.
A motorsport marketing expert, Brown, who joins the British team in the wake of Ron Dennis’ ousting, has established his reputation by delivering a number of sponsorship deals to McLaren, including Johnnie Walker, GSK, Hilton, Lenovo, Chandon and NTT.
However it remains without a title sponsor since Vodafone left at the end of the 2013 F1 season.
“I think it’s critical that we as McLaren and of course the entire industry really focus on our fan base – I’ve talked about that a lot over the years,” Brown said in an interview with the official McLaren website.
“If you have a big healthy fan base, everything else falls into place – the sponsors, the television, the merchandise and, ultimately, the economics that make the sport work.
“So that’s going to be critical for us, moving forward. I would like McLaren – just as we always have – to lead the way at it and continue to do that with a real emphasis on the commercial side.
“It’s not passed me by that we need a title partner, not only to help continue to build our brand, but also to economically make us go faster.”
Racing director Eric Boullier admitted last year that McLaren-Honda’s struggles on track had hurt the team commercially, while Dennis’ reluctance to lower its ‘rate card’ to attract new sponsors was seen as a hindrance as well.