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MARCH 8, 2006

Emirates finally arrives at McLaren

It has been four years since the first serious rumours of an involvement from the Dubai royal family's airline Emirates in Formula 1. The first stories were from Germany where an investment banker from Bremen called Oliver Behring had big plans to buy Arrows with Emirates money in order to start a company called German Grand Prix Racing GmbH. The plan never came to fruition. It was in June 2004 that the stories emerged again, with Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum, the chairman of Emirates, issuing a statement announcing that he was negotiating to buy control of one of an existing Formula 1 team with a company called Grand Prix Investments. By September that year there were stories that McLaren partner Mansour Ojjeh, DaimlerChrysler investor Prince Khaled Al-Waleed and Sheikh Ahmed had agreed to start a secondary McLaren team called Team Dubai.

Now finally we have a sponsorship deal between McLaren and Emirates which will see branding on the McLaren front wings.

It remains to be seen if there are bigger plans down the road.