McLaren is always chasing after Ferrari. They've chased after them on the track for decades, and sometimes they catch up. They've chased them on the road, trouncing the F40 with the McLaren F1 supercar, but missing the mark somewhat with the SLR. But in the modern era where racing is only half of competition, McLaren is after Maranello on another front: branding.
Marketing is one area where, even more so than on the circuit, Ferrari has got the rest of the field beat. But McLaren is getting serious about that front of the competition, too. To that end, McLaren is retaining the services of John Allert, a leading marketing consultant and former CEO of Interbrand. Are McLaren-branded laptops and theme parks far behind? Too soon to tell, but expect to see the name – and maybe a recognizable logo – showing up more prominently in the near future.
Does all this sound completely frivolous, bearing no effect on actual racing? Not so fast. With the stands at nearly every grand prix painted with fans wearing red, Ferrari acquires for themselves something of a home-field advantage at every race, all the while raking in serious profits that can go back into the development of new technologies to edge out the competition on the track. It's a winning formula for Ferrari, and in F1, nobody retains that kind of exclusive for long.