McLaren Technology Group

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McLaren Technology Group Limited
Industry Conglomerate
Founded 1985[1]
Founder Ron Dennis
Headquarters McLaren Technology Centre
Woking, Surrey, United Kingdom
Key people
Ron Dennis
(Chairman, Co-owner, founder, director and CEO)
Mike Flewitt
(CEO, McLaren Automotive)
Jonathan Neale
(COO and Acting CEO, McLaren Racing)
Ian Rhodes
(CEO, McLaren Applied Technologies)
Andrew Myers (Director)
Revenue Increase GB£268 million (2013)
Increase GB£22.5 million (2013)
Increase GB£18.8 million (2013)
Owner Mumtalakat Holdings (50%)
Ron Dennis (25%)
Techniques Avant Garde (25%)
Number of employees
Increase 5,289 (2013)
Subsidiaries McLaren Applied Technologies
McLaren Automotive (82%)
McLaren Racing
Absolute Taste (55%)
TAGMcLaren Electronics
Lydden Circuit

The McLaren Technology Group, based at the McLaren Technology Campus in Woking, Surrey, United Kingdom, is a British group of companies created by Ron Dennis, described by the International Herald Tribune as "a small conglomerate".[2] The company was originally named the TAGMcLaren Group because of ownership from Mansour Ojjeh's TAG Group. It was renamed to simply the McLaren Group in 2003, then to its current name in 2015, after an increased focus in the technology industry. The Group was originally formed from a Formula One team established by New Zealander Bruce McLaren in 1963 and is now focused around the McLaren Honda Formula One Racing Team, the group's second most profitable company. The McLaren Technology Group is the 3rd largest conglomerate (including McLaren Automotive) in the UK by revenue. The company hoped to expand its market from Formula One to manufacturing cars with its launch of the successor to the McLaren F1, the McLaren P1 and has since produced seven more models. In recent years, the group has branched out to other precision manufacturing areas, such as motorized devices for the solar and wind industries.[3] For three years, McLaren Group's technology subsidiary McLaren Applied Technologies works closely with GlaxoSmithKline (makers of Sensodyne, Boost etc.) Together they also plan to open a new building at the McLaren Technology Centre, called the McLaren-GSK Centre for Applied Technology.


Bruce McLaren started Bruce McLaren Motor Racing in 1963 and the team first entered Formula One in 1966.[4] Teddy Mayer took over direction of the group following Bruce McLaren's death while testing a Can-am series car in 1970. Mayer subsequently lead the McLaren to their first World Constructors' Championship in 1974 with Brazilian driver Emerson Fittipaldi, who also won the World Drivers' Championship that year. McLaren Group and all of its companies were later formed by Ron Dennis CBE, these include a diverse number of technology based companies including TAGMcLaren Audio, a high end manufacturer of DVD Players and Audio Equipment (Now sold to IAG), Absolute Taste, a London-based catering company notably for numerous celebrities including John Terry and Jenson Button, McLaren Automotive, a high end luxury sports car manufacturer but a separate company from the Group, Lydden Circuit, a Kent racing circuit and McLaren Applied Technologies- known for its sporting equipment used by Mark Cavendish, Lizzie Yarnold and others in numerous sports including bicycles and skeletons, it also manufacturers modern solutions such as the electronics at Heathrow Airport and GlaxoSmithKline plc's vaccine and drug company and formerly its consumer healthcare division which manafactuers Horlicks, Aquafresh, Boost, Gaviscon etc. McLaren Composites, creators of composites for cars such as the McLaren F1 and Mercedes SLR and even space craft parts, was later replaced with McLaren Applied Technologies. The group consists of a large number of companies (and subsidiaries of its companies), some of which are stated below.


Formula One

McLaren originally entered Formula One in 1966 under its founder Bruce McLaren. However, in 1970 he died in a crash. The team was saved by Teddy Mayer who helped the team win their first Constructors' and Drivers title. After Teddy Mayer, Ron Dennis took over the McLaren Racing team and he has worked for the company ever since. However, at the beginning of the 2009 season, Ron Dennis handed over the F1 department to Martin Whitmarsh so Dennis can focus on expanding McLaren overall, and especially in the road car market[5]

In 1966, McLaren suffered with reliability with their Ford 4.2 litre engine, and only scored a point after changing to a Serenissima V8. In 1967 they tried two different BRM engines. For the 1968 season they switched to Cosworth Ford engines. These continued to 1983, apart from a couple of Alfa Romeo examples, and then the TAG-Porsche turbo came in. This was the start of the MP4 cars, and the first entire carbon-composite chassis.

Honda engines took over in 1988, and then in 1993 the MP4/8 had a Ford HB engine. The next year was a Peugeot V10, and then the Mercedes era began in 1995, and is scheduled to continue to 2015.

The team's first F1 race win occurred in 1968 when Bruce McLaren won the non-championship Race Of Champions at Brands Hatch driving a McLaren M7A Ford. Later that year the team scored its first Grand Prix win when Bruce McLaren took the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa Francorchamps. By the end of the season Denny Hulme had won two further Grands Prix—in Italy and Canada (the team's first 1-2 finish in a World Championship race). Emerson Fittipaldi won the F1 world championship in 1974, and McLaren also took their first constructor's title at the same time. The 1976 title was taken by James Hunt, and then there was a gap until 1984. Then, Lauda took the title, and Prost took it the next two years running. The team took the constructor's title in 84 and 85.

In 1988, the McLaren-Honda MP4/4 had a very successful year. Not only did Senna win the title, but the car won 15 out of 16 races, and, apart from just 27 laps, led every single lap during the year. Prost won in 1989, and then left for Ferrari after clashing with Senna. Senna also won the title for McLaren in 1990 and 1991.

The partnership between McLaren and Mercedes began in 1995 with McLaren choosing to use Mercedes engines. This partnership was to last 15 years because McLaren and Mercedes parted ways on 16 November 2009 as Mercedes had bought the debut-season driver & constructor winning team Brawn. It was re-branded as Mercedes GP. Ron Dennis said one reason McLaren and Mercedes parted ways was because of his "ambitious plans to turn McLaren into a car manufacturer." Dennis insisted that in the "21st Century to survive in F1 you need to have more than just a team". However Mercedes continued to supply engines to McLaren until 2014.[5]

On 16 November 2009 Mercedes bought a 75.1% stake in Brawn GP and rebranded it as Mercedes Grand Prix. Mercedes continued supplying engines and sponsorship until 2014. McLaren also said "The McLaren Group will become a fully independent stand-alone corporate entity" as McLaren is to buy back stock from Daimler in phases up until 2011.[6]

At the end of 2011 McLaren Group completely bought back the stocks from Daimler.

Vodafone's title sponsorship deal, which began in 2007, ended at the finish of the 2013 season. In 2014, the team's official title was McLaren Mercedes. In 2015, the team, under a new partnership with car manufacturer Honda changed its official title to McLaren Honda.


McLaren Group's current project that was formed in 2012, Tooned is an animated cartoon starring Jenson Button, Kevin Magnussen and comedian Alexander Armstrong. Formerly including past McLaren drivers such as Sergio Pérez and Lewis Hamilton. It is aired on Sky Sports F1 before the start of each Formula 1 race. The first season, which starred former McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton aired from the 2012 British Grand Prix onwards. The second season aired from the 2013 British Grand Prix onwards. All episodes can be watched on McLaren's YouTube channel and the Sky Sports F1 website any time after the premiere. The episodes are a little more than 3 minutes long. On 16 May 2014 it was announced on McLaren's YouTube Channel that a season 3 was in progress. It was announced when Jenson Button was shown a picture of his 2014 team mate Kevin Magnussen's character on Tooned and also added that 'the production of Season 3 was going well'.

CNN's coverage of the UK General Election was filmed at McLaren Technology Group's TV studio on the McLaren Technology Campus. This is named "McLaren Thought Leadership Centre" as it offers full audience participation with every member in the audience having a digital touch pad screen in front of them.

Consumer electronics

TAGMcLaren Audio was a manufacturer of home electronics, primarily CD players, DVD players and HiFi systems. It used the TAG name as TAG was, and remains, a significant shareholder in the McLaren Group (now the McLaren Technology Group[7]) and one that was then focused on aggressively developing and harvesting value from the TAG brand across the consumer goods market, this strategy evidenced elsewhere by the rebranding exercise that followed the contemporaneous purchase of the watchmaker Ed. Heuer S.A which saw the Heuer brand given the prefix TAG to become TAG Heuer.[8] It was formed when McLaren purchased the failing home electronics brand Audiolab, it then changed its name to TAGMcLaren Audio. McLaren Group sold its audio and visual company to International Audio Group which later changed its name back to Audiolab. The company was formed when two McLaren Technology Group companies merged, these where McLaren Composites and TAG Electronics. The companies merged due to the sale of Audiolab to International Audio Group. TAG Electronics Holdings was the parent company of TAGMcLaren Audio (Now Audiolab) and also TAG Electronics Systems. When Audiolab was sold, the holding company TAG Electronics Holdings was scrapped and the remaining technology company merged with McLaren Composites, which both together now form McLaren Applied Technologies.


Although McLaren Group has no ownership or control over Absolute Taste, McLaren Group's owner Ron Dennis is the majority shareholder in Absolute Taste and therefore the companies work closely together. Absolute Taste was formed in 1997 by Ron Dennis and Lyndy Redding. Lyndy had just graduated from Tante Marie with a diploma and produced a 3-page business proposal to Ron Dennis to start a catering company. Ron Dennis owns a 55% interest.[9] Initially centred on providing hospitality for the VIP guests of the Team McLaren around the world, and for employees at the McLaren headquarters, the company grew and developed a separate identity.

Absolute Taste provided the catering for David and Victoria Beckham's 2006 FIFA World Cup send-off party, based on Gordon Ramsay's menu.[10]

Absolute Taste catered Nelson Mandela’s 90th Birthday party[11] and Chelsea FC footballer John Terry's wedding.[12]

In 2003, Absolute Taste Inflight was formed. It is a 24-hour, 365-day operation catering for private jets. It began at the suggestion of some McLaren employees and was vetted for a year on a shareholder's own plane. Six vans now deliver pre-prepared gourmet meals to airports all over the South of England.[9]

The company's tenth anniversary happened in 2008, when it announced a partnership with Gordon Ramsay Holdings. "Gordon Ramsay by Absolute Taste" is an entirely bespoke service in which Absolute Taste works with Gordon and his team to produce food from his restaurants for outside events. Gordon and Lyndy had met previously at Aubergine, Ramsay's restaurant, when a pastry chef had left the clear paper on Lyndy's chocolate fondant and Ramsay apologized to her. They met again at a Formula One race when Ramsay was McLaren's guest.[13]


In 1992 McLaren began producing its first road car, the McLaren F1, which had many similarities to its F1 car. In total, 106 were produced from 1992–1998, and even though it has been out of production for 15 years, there are still few production cars with a higher top speed than the F1. Among those that are faster are the Koenigsegg Agera R, Bugatti Veyron, SSC Ultimate Aero, Bugatti Veyron Super Sport and the Koenigsegg One:1. In September 2009 McLaren announced the successor of the McLaren F1 was to be the upcoming McLaren P1. Dennis said that parting ways with Mercedes was a "win-win situation for both sides".[5] McLaren also produced the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren with Mercedes as a joint project. Mercedes at this time owned 11% of the group as 29% has been sold back to the group. Now Mercedes has left the McLaren Group owners, selling their remaining 29%.[14]


McLaren Applied Technologies is the main subsidiary of McLaren Group, known for making the bike raced in the Le Tour de France by Mark Cavendish, the gold winning bobsled as used by Lizzy Yarnold and more. In formula one, McLaren Applied Technologies is the official ECU (Engine Control Unit) supplier to all teams, the official electronics supplier to all NASCAR teams and also helps develop medicines and drugs made by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). McLaren have also developed some household brands with GSK, including Aquafresh, Sensodyne, Boost, Horlicks, NiQuitin and more. McLaren Applied Technologies began as "McLaren Composites", mainly for the manufacture for parts for the McLaren F1 and Mercedes SLR. However, it began to grow and won contracts to manufacture parts for other companies and even grew into the energy industry, mainly solar panels. It was dissolved in 2003 and replaced with "McLaren Applied Technologies" a short while after in 2004.

Former subsidiaries


Ron Dennis owned all of McLaren for a year after buying out the original shareholders after Bruce McLaren's death. In 1983 he offered Mansour Ojjeh (CEO & Owner of TAG Group the chance to purchase 50% of the new F1 team. He accepted and McLaren was a joint venture between Ojjeh and Dennis until 3 January 2000, Daimler AG when (then DaimlerChrysler AG) exercised an option to buy 40 percent of the TAG McLaren Group. By now, the F1 team had already grown into a number of different companies since Ojjeh's investment, so DaimlerCrysler where planning on purchasing 40% of the whole parent group, not just the F1 team. Since 1995, Daimler had supplied British-built Mercedes-Benz engines to the McLaren Formula One team under the Mercedes-Benz brand. Ron Dennis and the TAG Group (owned by Mansour Ojjeh) each retained a 30 percent share.[16] In November 2003 TAG McLaren Group announced it would change its name to McLaren Group and its associated companies would also drop the TAG name.

In August 2006 it was reported that Daimler was considering acquiring the 60 percent of McLaren Group held by Dennis and Ojjeh.[17] However, in January 2007, it was announced that Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company, wholly owned by the Kingdom of Bahrain, intended to purchase 15 percent from both Dennis and Ojjeh. The shareholding became Daimler 40 percent, Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company 30 percent, Dennis 15 percent, and Ojjeh 15 percent.[18] On 16 November 2009, Mercedes bought Brawn GP and announced that McLaren would buy back Daimler's 40 percent share of McLaren in a deal which reported to be worth about £0.5bn.[5] The McLaren Group brought back Daimler's shareholding over a gradual process of two years,[19][20] before buying back the last shares at the end of 2011.[21] The shares were divided between the other shareholders.[21] Dennis planned to buy out Ojjeh's quarter ownership in McLaren, however, this fell through, most likely as Ojjeh was unwilling to leave the company as he could be seen as a founding member. In 2014 Dennis announced now that he planned to purchase Mumtalakat's shares, which Bernie Ecclestone confirmed that he has. On 12 December 2014, McLaren announced Dennis' plan to buy the Mumtalakat share of 50%. Share purchase agreements were signed in August 2014 and announced in December. The Mumtalakat Holding Company retained their 41% stake in McLaren Automotive. With the completion of this deal, the current shareholders are as follows:

  • Ron Dennis 75%
  • Mansour Ojjeh 25%


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