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McLaren explored Libya backing in 2010
(GMM)  McLaren reportedly explored a potential sponsorship with links to Colonel Gaddafi's controversial Libyan regime.

Britain's Daily Mail reports that the Woking based team even produced an electronic mock-up of a livery on its formula one car featuring the slogan 'Visit Libya'.

McLaren's dealings were with Gaddafi's son Saif, representing the state-owned tourism board.  Saif was even invited to the famous British team's factory.

The newspaper said the story was developing early last year until "Saif dropped his interest".

McLaren is already part-owned by the Bahrain state-owned Mumtalakat company.

"Libya's backing would have increased McLaren's connections to embattled rulers in the Arab world", said the Daily Mail.

A McLaren spokesman confirmed the team met with a representative of a Libyan consortium in January last year "with a view to discussing a commercial sponsorship".

He insisted however that "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".

Also last year, it was reported that Gaddafi's son was one of the potential backers of Jacques Villeneuve's bid to return to F1 with Durango.

And in 2004, Gaddafi sent his deputy prime minister to the Bahrain grand prix, with reports then claiming F1 "might one day race" in Libya.

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