• F1 Ownership

Teams take first step towards F1 equity stake

ESPNF1 Staff
September 15, 2011 « Indian GP customs row continues | »
Martin Whitmarsh: "Formula One is owned by venture capitalists and one would suspect that they can't hold the sport in their funds ad infinitum" © Sutton Images

Chairman of the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) Martin Whitmarsh has revealed that the teams are making the first steps towards buying a stake in the sport's commercial rights.

A report in the Independent said FOTA has hired consulting firm DC Advisory Partners to look into the possibility of approaching the sport's current majority owners CVC Capital Partners. CVC bought a 63.3% stake in the sport's commercial rights in 2006 and there has been speculation lately that it might consider selling.

"At the end of the day, Formula One is owned by venture capitalists and one would suspect that they can't hold the sport in their funds ad infinitum," he told the Independent.

Earlier this year the teams started making noises about buying a stake in the sport amid rumours News Corporation was thinking of making a bid.

At the Turkish Grand Prix Whitmarsh said: "I think the teams want to ensure that first and foremost that we have stability, we want to ensure that the sport is sustainable and to be sustainable you need the appropriate level of investment to promote and develop the sport. You need the appropriate distribution of the revenues to teams to make it sustainable and those are the primary things."

Earlier this year Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo said the teams had three options ahead of the negotiations for the next Concorde Agreement - the document that binds the teams, the FIA and the owners of the commercial rights together.

"At the end of 2012, the contracts of every single team with CVC will expire," he told CNN. "So, we have three alternatives. We renew with CVC, or we theoretically - as the basketball teams did in the U.S. with great success - we create our own company, like the NBA, just to run the races, the TV rights and so on. And third, to find a different partner."

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