McLaren strikes Dell deal as it seeks return to F1's fast lane

The McLaren Formula One (F1) team will signal its ambition of returning to the sport's fast lane on Thursday when it unveils a major sponsorship deal with Dell Technologies, the PC manufacturer.

‎McLaren and Dell will announce a long-term partnership less than two months before the new F1 season gets under way in Melbourne, Australia.

The deal will involve the computing giant providing software and hardware to McLaren's various businesses, including the F1 team and its Applied Technologies division, according to a source close to the alliance.

‎It will represent Dell's first global sponsorship agreement of this kind, and comes as the world's largest privately owned technology company considers a return to the US stock markets five years after billionaire founder Michael Dell took it private.

The company owns brands such as Dell EMC, Secureworks and VMware, underlining its diversification beyond its original business of making personal computers.

Insiders said Dell and McLaren would use their partnership to collaborate on projects in areas such as cloud computing, security, digital and workplace transformation.

For the F1 team owner, whose drivers include the former world champion Fernando Alonso, the deal will reflect growing momentum in its commercial operations even as it bids to recover from a dismal few years on the track.

The team, which finished in ninth - and second-to-last - place in the 2017 constructors' championship, has unveiled backing in recent weeks from companies including CNBC, the business news network, and Airgain, ‎which provides wireless connectivity platforms.

McLaren also appointed a panel of business advisors‎, including Lord Coe, the former Olympic gold medallist; Carl-Peter Forster, the former boss of Jaguar Land Rover-owner Tata Motors; and Richard Solomons, ex-chief executive of InterContinental Hotels Group.

The group has no involvement in the day-to-day running of McLaren, but will advise on growth opportunities for the company.

That spate of new deals comes as F1 prepares for an intriguing year in which the influence‎ of Liberty Media, the sport's new owner, is likely to make itself felt more prominently.

Last week, F1's management company announced that female models ‎would no longer be employed on the grid prior to Grands Prix, and would be replaced by aspiring young drivers.

McLaren declined to comment on Wednesday, while Dell could not be reached for comment.