Bahrain buys into GP2

Sheikh Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa , the Crown Prince of Bahrain, has acquired 30% of ART Grand Prix and its sister operation ASM in Formula 3. The remaining shares in the teams are shared equally between founder Frederic Vasseur and Nicolas Todt, the son of Ferrari team boss Jean Todt, who is also the manager of Felipe Massa. The plan now is develop "new projects" in order to develop racing in the Middle East. The Prince has made no secret of his desire to see local drivers in GP2 in the years ahead. The Prince will not be involved in running of the team as he is a little busy as Undersecretary of Defence of the Kingdom of Bahrain.

The sheikh (who is 38) is likely to be the Crown Prince for quite a while yet as his father King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, who has ruled Bahrain since 2002, is still only 57. His cousin Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, the Finance Minister, is the chairman of Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding, the company set up last year to control the government’s commercial and investments in around 30 different companies, including McLaren, in which Mumtalakat holds 30% of the shares.

ART has won the last two GP2 titles with Nico Rosberg (now with Williams) and Lewis Hamilton (now with McLaren).

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