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A big change of look is in store at McLaren - Brown

Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Mexican Grand Prix
© XPB 

Zak Brown says the McLaren brand and its visibility are undergoing big changes which will include an all-new livery for its 2018 charger.

After parting ways with Honda, McLaren is on the verge of a new dawn with engine partner Renault, but a new power unit won't be the only change in store at the Woking-based outfit, according to Brown.

"The car's not going to look the same as last year," the McLaren boss told Motorsport.com.

"Our whole brand, the visibility of McLaren, is going to go to the next level and it's going to be exciting.

"We know what a lot of the other teams are going to look like, but hopefully people will see the biggest change on and off the track at McLaren going into Australia."

For its 2018 livery, McLaren teased a return of the team's historical papaya color, a request from the fan community, but Brown isn't giving anything away.

"There will be some nod to our history but we're not done with the livery yet because a lot of that is sponsor dependent," said the American executive.

A sign of the times, McLaren has struggled to secure a title sponsor since Vodafone's departure in 2013. Brown's commercial approach however is to keep the McLaren name and brand isolated in the future.

"We do need a title-level partner, all I've done is dropping the vernacular of title into principal and have looked at all of our commercial assets, which is not just the race car, it's our other forms of racing and things like our building and war rooms and things of that nature, and have looked at what's the best way to commercialise the world of McLaren," he said.

"Going through that exercise developed a plan that doesn't require a 'title partner'.

©WRI2

"It still requires a principal partner, just not a 'title partner'. I know that's semantics there but it's really about protecting the McLaren name.

"That's all I'm trying to do is ringfence that and keep us as McLaren.

"I don't really feel there's that much value in the sponsor's name being part of the team but I do think it slightly diminishes the value of the name of the team when it's being co-branded."

While McLaren won't completely fulfill its sponsorship objectives for this year, new partners are on their way and Brown insists he is happy with the current commercial outlook.

"We've signed three partners so far that we will start to announce and hopefully a few more," he said.

"We won't be sold out next year [2018], it takes time, but I'm really happy with the on-track direction of the team, our driver line-up and our off-track, our commercial, our marketing engagement with the fans.

"It's a great company with a great brand that has been under-leveraged in recent times."

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