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McLaren denies losing Johnnie Walker as sponsor

McLaren has hit back at reports it is set to lose Johnnie Walker as a sponsor.

The Mirror’s Byron Young reported from Singapore on Sunday that, with Bernie Ecclestone securing the whisky brand as a new F1 sponsor, Johnnie Walker will now depart the beleaguered British grandee.

But McLaren has told us the report in the major British tabloid was incorrect, as “Johnnie Walker remains an important and valued sponsor of McLaren”.

A team spokesman said the newspaper simply got the story “wrong”.

“Yes, Johnnie Walker will be one of the sponsor logos on our 2015 car,” he confirmed.

The McLaren spokesman also moved to clear up some confusion about the condition of Kevin Magnussen after Sunday’s highly physical Singapore grand prix.

Reports claimed the Danish rookie had been treated for burns and dehydration in the medical centre after his McLaren overheated and his on-board drinking water boiled, but Magnussen insisted on Twitter: “That’s a bit exaggerated.

“I was just hot and sweaty!”

But the McLaren spokesman said Magnussen, 21, was indeed treated for “nasty burns” and then tried to “make light of it” on Twitter as he is a “tough Viking boy!”

It is believed Toro Rosso’s 20-year-old Daniil Kvyat was also dehydrated after his drink bottle failed in Singapore, while world champion Sebastian Vettel was suffering “severe stomach cramps” whilst spraying champagne on the podium.

Germany’s RTL television said the Red Bull driver cancelled some of his media commitments after the race as he suffered from the effects of dehydration.

Just before he left the reporters, SID news agency quoted him as explaining the feeling of being passed for the lead by the winning Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton.

“Imagine driving a Fiat Panda and behind you is a Porsche 911,” he said.