McLaren have entered into a 50 percent joint venture with Bahrain Merida aimed at making the professional cycling team an internationally recognised brand at the top of the sport.
McLaren, in which Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat has a majority stake, said yesterday that the deal would involve technical and commercial collaboration delivered through its applied technologies division.
“Racing, technology and human performance are at the heart of everything we do at McLaren,” the company’s chief marketing officer John Allert said in a statement.
“Cycling is something we’ve been involved with in the past and have been looking at entering for some time. It is a completely natural fit for our skills and our ambitions.”
The McLaren Group, which owns the McLaren F1 Team, has previously worked with Team Sky and British Cycling in the build-up to the London Olympics in 2012 through its applied technologies division.
The same unit was also involved in a technical partnership with American cycle manufacturer Specialized.
“The combination of our passion and vision for Team Bahrain Merida to be a winning team, with McLaren’s expertise and dedication, is the perfect partnership,” Bahrain Merida general manager Brent Copeland said.
Founded in 2017, Bahrain Merida is owned by Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Representative for His Majesty for Chairty Works and Youth Affairs, chairman of Supreme Council for Youth and Sports and president of Bahrain Olympic Committee, and is led by 2014 Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali.
“Our partnership with McLaren is one that gives me great national pride and excitement for the future of Bahrain cycling. We want to be the best in the world and an example to others on how to compete in this most challenging of elite sports,” said Shaikh Nasser.
“The partnership with McLaren will provide invaluable expertise and experience of getting the best out of machines and athletes and will help to accelerate our team’s journey to the pinnacle of professional cycling.”
No financial details of the deal were disclosed but McLaren said the long-term vision behind the partnership would be to elevate Bahrain Merida to professional cycling’s top table.
Earlier yesterday, Team Sky, who have dominated the cycling landscape in recent years, confirmed that its main sponsor, broadcaster Sky, would end its involvement in the sport after next season, casting the team’s future in doubt.