FEBRUARY 11, 2005
The sale of a current F1 "independent"
The FIA President Max Mosley had lunch yesterday with members of the British media and mentioned in passing that one of the independent teams in F1 is, he thinks, in the process of being sold. The remark has been interpreted that it must mean that Sauber is up for sale but people forget that there are seven independent teams in the Formula 1 World Championship. Only three (Ferrari, Renault and Toyota) are wholly-owned by an automobile company.
British American Racing is 45% owned by Honda but is moving towards Honda ownership now that British American Tobacco has indicated that it has no need for F1 in the future. One must assume that this is the team to which Mosley was referring.
There is no sign that any of the other teams are talking about deals with anyone. McLaren is 40% owned by Mercedes-Benz but the remaining 60% remains independent and full takeover talks have gone quiet in recent months; Williams is 100%-owned by Frank Williams and Patrick Head. Sauber is partly-owned by Credit Suisse but the control of decision-making rests with Peter Sauber and he shows no signs of quitting the sport and it is irrelevant who owns the other shares. Minardi belongs to Paul Stoddart and he is not selling; Jordan has sold to the Midland Group and Jaguar Racing has been flogged to Red Bull.
If anything the sale of BAR will one day strengthen the hand of manufacturers in F1 - and it is therefore odd that Mosley would want to draw attention to such negotiations given that he seems to be at odds with all but Ferrari at the moment.
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