JUNE 2, 2006
The trials of a small team
Everything has a price and Midland boss Alex Shnaider has accepted that MF1 Racing might be for sale if someone is willing to pay enough for it. Shnaider may not want to sell but the opportunity for a big profit and the fact that the team costs so much to run means that an offer from a Dutch group must be considered. The group in question has been around for a while and was bidding to buy Minardi before Red Bull swept in with its millions. If the Dutch are willing to pay $125m as is being rumoured then it will represent a serious profit for Midland which paid about a quarter of that when it acquired the Jordan team at the end of 2004. The increase in value comes because the team's financial situation has been stabilised and because a commercial deal has been struck for 2008 to 2012. This guarantees money for the top 10 teams. There is no guarantee that the team would be in the top 10 because the weaker teams are being weeded out of the sport as manufacturers and Red Bull buy up the teams. In addition the decision to allow the sale of chassis will achieve the opposite to what was intended as the big teams are now buying smaller operations in order to have a more cost-effective challenge by fielding four cars at a great deal less cost than two two-car teams. The need for four cars is exacerbated by the increasing restriction on testing which means that the more cars one runs, the more on will learn. This is the same concept that has led to the domination of the multi-car teams in NASCAR.
In the circumstances, the prospect of trying to compete in F1 with a small team is a daunting one unless one has unlimited budgets and it is clear that Midland is not willing to spend without limit.
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