London: McLaren Formula One team was reportedly involved in a potential GBP 25 million deal with Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.
According to The Daily Mail, McLaren had produced a mock-up of how their cars would look with the words ‘Visit Libya’ on them in an attempt to entice the Libyan Tourist Board into pressing ahead with a sponsorship package.
The F1 team had also sent a letter inviting officials from the tourism board, promoted by Gaddafi’s son Saif, to the Woking factory.
McLaren were introduced to the Libyans by former Formula Three driver and reality TV participant Alex Waters.
Libya’s backing would have increased McLaren’s connections to controversial Middle East regimes, with the Bahrain sovereign wealth fund already part-owners of the team.
A McLaren spokesman, however, denied that the team official met “any personnel from the consortium from Libya”.
“McLaren were approached by Alex Waters in January last year. Waters asked whether we would be interested in meeting a consortium from Libya with a view to discussing a commercial sponsorship,” the spokesman said.
“We explored this with Waters, and emailed him computer- rendered illustrations of what a McLaren car might look like if such a sponsorship were to come into being, but no meetings between any personnel from McLaren and any personnel from the consortium from Libya ever took place and the deal therefore never reached square one,” he added.