OCTOBER 29, 2004
David Richards takes a holiday, others take advantage
David Richards and his family went on holiday after the Brazilian Grand Prix, as did a lot of sensible F1 people after a very long and tiring season. The fact that the end of the F1 season coincides with half term in British schools probably has something to do with it. However, behind every normal action in F1, there is a conspiracy and some of the F1 websites have been reporting that Richards has been fired by BAR. The rumours say that this happened on Sunday night in Brazil.
The vast majority of F1 Internet reporters do not attend the races and so are not as tired as those that do, in addition they were not able to see how Richards spent the evening after his supposed "dismissal".
Richards was last seen with a cigar in one hand and a glass of red wine in the other, celebrating the fact that BAR had just confirmed its runner-up spot in the World Championship. When congratulated for being the first loser, Richards replied.
"I do not follow that theory about motor racing, I'm celebrating!"
There have been rumours about Richards doing the rounds for some time now but these appear to be coming from those who are seeking to undermine him. Richards has a contract with the team for another two years, the term of the contract due to expire at the same time as tobacco advertising.
There are some disaffected people in and around BAR not least some of the former owners who have seen their shareholdings diluted very carefully in the last few months as BAT has been quietly converting the team's massive debts into equity. The original partners have been unwilling or unable to invest more money in the business and as a result BAT's ownership is now around 94% (up from the original 50%) while the others partners own only around six percent. This means that Mount Eagle Inc (Craig Pollock, Jerry Forsythe and, rumour has it, Jacques Villeneuve) owns only around 4% of the shares, while Adrian Reynard's share is down to 2%. Although the shareholders may have been squeezed out by their own debts, they still have some power because they continue to hold board positions and this means that they can still propose actions to the board, whether these are voted through is quite another matter.
It is believed that BAT is planning further debt-for-equity deals in the months ahead which will effectively raise BAT's share in the business still further.
In the meantime David Richards is on holiday, rumour has it in Dubai.
Perhaps some of the Internet sites should go on holiday as well...
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