Groups scrambling to join F1’s billion-dollar moment
"There have been three offers to buy shares in recent months"
Formula 1 teams are reportedly worth at least a billion dollars each - even back-of-the-grid Williams.
On Monday, Renault-owned Alpine confirmed that it has sold 24 percent of the Enstone-based team - not including the Viry (France) engine HQ - for EUR 200 million.
"The transaction values Alpine Racing Ltd around $900 million following this investment," the French carmaker confirmed in a statement, explaining that one of the investors is Hollywood actor Ryan Reynolds.
The valuation seems to line up with F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali’s claim that other teams are turning down "almost billions" from potential buyers.
"There have been three offers to buy shares in recent months, with which the respective racing teams would have been valued at over 1 billion US dollars," said Auto Motor und Sport journalist Tobias Gruner.
"All three were rejected."
One of them, Gruner said, was Williams - the Oxfordshire-based team that was reportedly offered $500 million by Porsche for a 50 percent stake.
Before that, "Porsche tried very hard to come in with Red Bull," Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei confirmed.
Prospective new F1 entrants are also clamouring at the gates, with the latest confirmed applicant hoping for the sport’s approval being the British Formula 2 and Formula 3 team Hitech.
Also on Monday, it was announced that Kazakh billionaire Vladimir Kim has bought a 25 percent stake in the team that previously operated with the backing of Nikita Mazepin and his father Dmitry.
Hitech also confirmed that the outfit has lodged an official application "for entry into Formula 1 from the 2026 season".
The team joins other projects that are also vying to become the 11th or 12th F1 outfit on the 2026 grid - including Craig Pollock’s Formula Equal, the former Panthera Asia project that has been renamed Lky Sunz, and Trevor Carlin’s project.
"At least one other project is said to have also applied," reports correspondent Michael Zeitler on f1-insider.com. "F1 teams confirm that Project 21 is poaching employees, although the people behind the project are still completely unclear."
Additionally, an Indian project called Mumbai Falcons is also said to be interested in Formula 1 with billionaire backing, while Campos and Hong Kong billionaire Calvin Lo have also been linked with the FIA’s tender process.
It is clear that F1 is currently booming under the American management style of commercial rights holders Liberty Media - even if the sport’s former supremo Bernie Ecclestone remains highly critical.
"The F1 marketers are only fixated on the US market," the 92-year-old told the Munich Merkur and tz media group.
He said the driver presentations in Miami, for instance, was "more like an Oscars ceremony than a major ceremony".
"But unlike football, Formula 1 has its roots in Europe," Ecclestone insisted. "I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry," he said of the events in Miami.
"It was a joke. They’re desperately doing anything for American supporters, even at the risk of burning the roots."
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