JULY 7, 2003
Are there team buyers out there?
There were suggestions in Magny Cours that there are at least two serious buyers for Formula 1 teams on the market at the moment. One is believed to be Dietrich Mateschitz who continues to work quietly towards his goal of establishing a Red Bull-branded American-linked Grand Prix team. It is not known who the other might be but there was speculation in Magny Cours that it might be Russian businessman Roman Abramovich, who last week concluded a huge deal to buy the Chelsea soccer team in London. He was a guest of Bernie Ecclestone at the recent European Grand Prix.
Abramovich is one of Russia's wealthiest men and he is the biggest shareholder in the new oil company currently being formed by the merger between Abramovich's Sibneft and Yukos Oil. The firm will be Russia's biggest oil company and the fourth largest oil company in the world. It is logical that such an entity would like to build an international profile and Abramovich, a big sports fan, would look to Formula 1 to help him in that task. It has been suggested that Abramovich could finance the Russian Grand Prix but it may also be that the idea of him becoming a team owner is being suggested.
Both Abramovich and Mateschitz have the kind of money needed to run a Formula 1 team successfully and could come in to replace some of the current team owners who are finding the going rather tough.
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