McLaren Slams The Brakes On Apple Tie-Up Rumours

Electronics giant Apple has not made any approach for Formula 1 team and supercar maker McLaren.

Although media reports have surfaced that talks started earlier this year, McLaren has moved to stamp out the rumours.

“We can confirm that McLaren is not in discussion with Apple in respect of any potential investment,” said a spokesman.

However, he did cryptically add that the car maker regularly had ‘confidential discussions with a wide range of parties.”

The denial was aimed at squashing reports that Apple had made a £1.5 billion for the car firm.

The speculation seems to fit with Apple dabbling with driverless car technology.

Driverless technology

Google and Microsoft are both researching the sector, together with many concept projects funded by car makers such as Tesla, Ford and Renault.

However, the main market for driverless vehicle technology is the mass-market, and unless McLaren started driving a lot more vehicles off the production line in a price bracket more attractive to average drivers, how an Apple deal would work seems a mystery.

Industry experts suggest if Apple is to get into bed with McLaren, it’s not the car firm but a data analytics offshoot that holds the most interest.

McLaren Applied Technologies employs cutting edge computers to predict traffic flows and develops lightweight plastics and alloys for the car trade. The technology arm of McLaren also makes state-of-the-art driving simulators.

Apple has a cash mountain of $100 billion to invest.

Last year, almost a billion was pumped into Chinese Uber app Didi Chuxing, a move that helped persuade Uber that moving into China was a bad idea for business.

What about the rumours?

So are the McLaren rumours true?

If Apple and McLaren are talking about buying, selling or setting up a joint venture, it’s unlikely they will make their discussions public. What they are saying to each other behind closed doors is sensitive intelligence they won’t want rivals to gain.

The denials have not been complete – they are open to interpretation, but that might just be because what they say is being picked apart and misunderstood.

The story first came to light in the Financial Times, which is not a news outlet famed for breaking unproved allegations.

But no one outside Apple and McLaren knows for sure what is going on, and won’t unless one of the parties breaks cover.