OCTOBER 9, 2004

Oakwell Associates looks at Formula 1

Oakwell Associates has admitted that it has a serious intent to acquire Jaguar Racing and its sister company Cosworth Racing from the Ford Motor Company. Oakwell says it wants to enter F1 to enhance its corporate brand and build a dynamic image.

Oakwell is a serious company. It is the largest private investment group in the world. It was established in 1999 by South African entrepreneur Mark Paulsmeier and its core business is to invest in high-yield projects. The firm has more than 1200 funding syndicates involved and manages a total of $120bn through four different regional companies.

The company says that its presence in F1 "would be significant as their capital resources and strategic alliances will position Jaguar in the same category as Ferrari, Williams and McLaren" and said that it is negotiating with "an American technology team and former F1 drivers" to finalize its participation. No further details have been announced but the information would seem to suggest that the project could be linked to the American Formula 1 team which was announced in September 2002 at Indianapolis, which was fronted by Dan Gurney and Phil Hill but featured Les Olson, a former marketing director at BAR, in the background. At the time the project was put on hold because money could not be found. However if Oakwell is the backer of the idea, it may be that we will see a fully-funded US racing team.