BRITISH supercar maker and Formula One team McLaren has slammed the brakes on suggestions it is about to be bought by smartphone and computing giant Apple.
"We can confirm that McLaren is not in discussion with Apple in respect of any potential investment," a McLaren spokesman said overnight as reports that the iPhone’s creator had opened the door to talks flooded the internet.
"As you would expect, the nature of our brand means we regularly have confidential conversations with a wide range of parties, but we keep them confidential."
Likewise, Apple has declined to weigh in, stating it “does not comment on rumours or speculation”, media reports said.
A report in the British business newspaper, the <Financial Times>, read as though the talks between the computing giant and the Formula One manufacturer had already progressed.
It claims that if a takeover was not possible, Apple would also be keen to talk about a strategic investment in the company that could have seen the California-based tech company’s logo emblazoned on the successor to the Honda-powered McLaren MP4-31.
However, Andrew Benson, the chief F1 writer for the BBC, sees more in it.
“What the McLaren statement means: ‘We were in talks with Apple but we're not any more.’ Clearly was re Apple car, future of which is unclear,” he said.
Apple is believed to be reversing an earlier decision to develop a self-driving car – it recently started shedding staff tied up with the top-secret Project Titan, the name given to its autonomous push – and instead focus on developing the add-on bits that help cars drive themselves.
Its play for McLaren is believed to have been a means by which the cash-heavy Apple could buy much-needed credibility in the car-making game – unlike McLaren, Apple outsources almost all of its manufacturing to third parties.
In contrast, McLaren technology Group, which last financial year bounced back from a significant loss, plans for aggressive growth.
Its UK-based McLaren Technology Campus houses more than 3000 employees, and the company plans to increase the size of its facility by another 50 percent “to accommodate its projected future growth”.
McLaren has flagged that it wants to launch as many as 15 new models and derivatives by 2022, making it ripe for taking on a resource-heavy technology partner such as Apple.
As many as half these new models could directly tap into McLaren’s Formula One experience, featuring high-performance hybrid systems – technology that, like Apple's products, sit at the cutting edge of development.