McLaren has clarified that a garage visit by former US president Donald Trump ahead of Formula 1’s Miami Grand Prix was not a show of support for his political ambitions.

During a break from his ongoing legal hush-money trial in New York, Trump made a controversial appearance in Miami on Sunday – whipping up the crowds and being spotted with senior figures from grand prix racing.

He also posed for photographs at the McLaren garage and was spotted chatting to its CEO Zak Brown before the race – with many spectators chanting for him.

Trump’s divisive nature inevitably triggered some debate about why F1 and McLaren had given him an international media platform – with McLaren subsequently clarifying that its decision had nothing to do with politics.

In a statement issued by the team, it said: “McLaren is a non-political organisation however we recognise and respect the office of President of the United States.

“So when the request was made to visit our garage on race day we accepted alongside the president of the FIA and the CEO’s of Liberty Media and Formula 1.

“We were honoured that McLaren Racing was chosen as the representative of F1 which gave us the opportunity to showcase the world class engineering that we bring to motorsport.”

Lando Norris and Donald Trump at Miami GP 2024

Trump’s visit to McLaren coincided with the squad taking its first F1 victory since the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, as Lando Norris pulled off a brilliant maiden win.

Speaking after the race, Norris said that Trump had later congratulated him about his success – and called him his ‘lucky charm’.

Speaking about having Trump in the garage, Norris said: “I didn't see him in the garage, to be honest. I was busy prepping for the race. But he saw me after, and he came up to congratulate me.

"So I guess an honour, because whenever you have someone like this, it has to be an honour for them to come up to you, to take time out of their life, to pay their respect for what you've done.

“He said he was my lucky charm because it's my win. So I don't know if he's going to come to more races now.

“But yeah, there's a lot of special people or cool people that have been here this weekend. Donald is someone that you got to have a lot of respect for in many ways.

"And yeah, for anyone like that who acknowledges what you can go out and do, and acknowledges the work ethic that goes into things, you got to be thankful for that. And I was. So yeah, a cool moment.”