• Andy Marston

McLaren shine a light on the NBA at Silverstone

The Formula 1 team showed their support for the Phoenix Suns with a subtle change to their livery during the British Grand Prix.

Photo Source: Twitter/ McLaren F1

With the British Grand Prix being the home race for several Formula 1 teams, it would have come as no surprise to see them pay homage to their ‘British-ness’ by customising their livery. However, McLaren, who made headlines for their retro Gulf Oil livery in Monaco, instead focused their support on an NBA franchise.

The Phoenix Suns – who were heading into Game 5 of the NBA Finals vs Milwaukee Bucks post-Silverstone – had their logo emblazoned across both Lando Norris and Daniel Riccardo’s cars. And the team were also wished good luck via McLaren’s social media accounts, who stated, “We are backing Suns in their papaya jerseys”.

However, their reasons for supporting the Suns go beyond just colour schemes. Jahm Najafi, co-owner and vice president of Phoenix Suns since last December has also recently become the vice chairman of McLaren Racing. As a result, a victory for Phoenix could also have been seen as a victory for McLaren.

Furthermore, McLaren Racing has ambitions to increase their footprint in the U.S. after returning last year as a full-time team in the IndyCar Series, alongside Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chevrolet. Conversely, the timing for the NBA, which has just launched their first store in the UK, couldn’t have been better either.

The promotion is a wonderful example of the convergence of sports, which are now happier than ever to break the confines of their individual disciplines. Arguably, this is a trend that can be traced back to the NBA, who have long sought to transcend basketball and ingrain themselves within music and culture.