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Financial players looking at F1

MOST of the Formula 1 teams are reporting that they have received approaches in recent months from British financial institutions wanting to buy equity because Bernie Ecclestone's new financial deal for the Concorde Agreement signatories is so attractive that teams will be making big profits by the end of the current deal in 2001.

The new TV deal means that teams will get around $15m a year in TV money, which will add up to around $75m in the next five years just for turning up and competing at races. Additional money can be made from sponsorship, good results and merchandising which means that profits of $100m over five years are not unlikely, assuming that sponsorship is used to cover the costs of operating the teams.

Among those interested in buying into the sport is Joseph Lewis, believed to be Britain's richest man with a fortune estimated at $4.5bn.

In recent years Lewis - who lives in the Bahamas - has invested in the booming business of sport. He recently paid $60m for a share in the Glasgow Rangers soccer club and is tipped to be considering buying a stake in an F1 team.

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