British supercar maker McLaren is in talks for the sale of a share of its Formula 1 team in order to fund its medium-term future, Autocar has reported. The Woking-based manufacturer has been hard-hit by the coronavirus and the consequent shutdown, though it has recently received US$184 million (RM788 million) in financing facility from the National Bank of Bahrain.

The Bahrain funding will come as some welcome relief, however more is needed, and the company has received approval from its shareholders to investigate other ways to further raise funds to secure its future over the next five years, the magazine reported.

While its sources indicated plans for the partial or complete sale of McLaren’s Automotive, Applied Technologies and Racing divisions, a McLaren insider has told Autocar that the only advanced discussions were focused on a minority stake of the Racing division, and denied any conversation regards the sale of McLaren Automotive, which is in charge of road cars.

Bond holders and board members at McLaren are believed to have given the green light in the past week to explore offers of interest. “We are considering the option of additional investors in the Racing business,” a McLaren spokesperson said when contacted by the magazine.

The Racing division encompasses the McLaren Formula 1 team, which garnered attention for its podium finish result at this year’s Formula 1 season opener at the Austrian Grand Prix with a third-place result by Lando Norris, who recorded the fastest lap of the race just before its end.

McLaren announced in May that it was planning to lay off 1,200 employees, or a quarter of its workforce due to the pandemic that has severely affected sales, following an earlier move to furlough its staff with the aim of protecting jobs in the short term.

The most recent indication of the McLaren Group’s value arose two years ago when Michael Latifi bought a 10% share for just over £200m pounds sterling (RM1.07 billion) , which suggests a valuation of more than £2 billion (RM10.7 billion) at the time.

The upcoming Formula 1 cost cap could potentially make the team more profitable, says Autocar, and it is possible that the valuation, in addition to the racing team’s improvement in form, could increase the price per share in the race team, the report said.

Meanwhile, a sale of McLaren Applied Technologies is also believed to be in discussions, however this is said to be complex as the division relies on its links to racing in order to thrive, the magazine said. McLaren Applied Technologies works in everyday industries, notably in healthcare and public transport.