Over the years McLaren have been involved with a number of different sponsors, leading to some iconic branding for them. Title sponsors over the years include Yardley, Marlboro, and West. Their most recent, and current, title sponsor is Vodafone, but the team recently announced that that relationship would be coming to an end at the end of the 2013 season.
One of McLaren’s most iconic liveries was on the car from the mid 70s to the mid 90s. When Marlboro joined the team and became title sponsor, the cars ran a red and white livery, which has become as synonymous with McLaren as their orange liveries from the late 60s/early 70s. It also coincided with the successful Honda era (1988 – 1991) when McLaren won four constructors titles in a row, coming second in 1991. Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost also won drivers championships for the team during this period.
When Marlboro left the team to join Ferrari, McLaren had a livery and a title change. They became known as West McLaren Mercedes, and changed to a black and white colour scheme. It was this design that McLaren won their last constructors championship to date in 1998, with Mika Hakkinen securing the drivers championship two years in a row. After new tobacco advertising laws were introduced in Europe, McLaren dropped West as a sponsor and ran a season simply named Team McLaren Mercedes in 2006. This was also the time when they changed to their current livery – dropping the white and introducing a largely chrome livery and incorporating red.
McLaren’s longest running partnership is with Hugo Boss, with whom they have been working with since 1981. It is also the longest sports sponsorship of all time. Hugo Boss work with McLaren to provide team-wear. Vodafone became title sponsor of McLaren in 2007, becoming their Official Total Communications Provider in 2010. When Spaniard Fernando Alonso joined the team for 2007, Santander became a Corporate Partner. Other familiar names linked with the McLaren team are AkzoNobel, Hilton HHonors, Johnnie Walker and SAP.
McLaren’s engine partnership with Mercedes started in 1995 and will come to an end at the end of the 2014 season. McLaren will return to Honda engines, with whom they enjoyed considerable success, as mentioned above. The relationship with Mercedes will be investigated in a later post.
Tomorrow’s ’50 in 50′ post will take a look at the overall McLaren Group.