APRIL 26, 2016
Russian billionaire completes Nurburgring purchase
A Russian billionaire is now the full owner of the fabled F1 circuit the Nurburgring.
In late 2014, we reported that Viktor Kharitonin, who co-founded the pharmaceutical company Pharmstandard, had bought into the embattled German grand prix venue.
Forbes Russia now reports that Kharitonin, 43, has upped his stake from 80 to 99 per cent.
"Today we have closed the deal," he is quoted as saying, with Forbes claiming the value of the new transaction is some EUR 38 million.
It is believed Kharitonin has paid EUR 77 million in total for the circuit, with the minority shareholder GetSpeed keeping a symbolic 1 per cent.
Amid the Nurburgring's well-documented financial and ownership troubles, Germany fell off the F1 calendar last year and is once again back in doubt for 2017.
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone said he came close to buying the Nurburgring, but the then owners opted for another offer "for the sake of one or two million".
"I think we can say for sure that there will not be a race" in 2017, he told motorsport-magazin.com late last year.
Explaining the 2015 absence now, Kharitonin said: "We ourselves refused because they did not agree with the organisers on financial matters."
Kharitonin, however, claims talks with Ecclestone will resume, according to Forbes Russia.