Formula One set for huge takeover as US media giants bid £6.5bn for major shares


Freedom Media, which has a stake in several sports and entertainment businesses, is commanded by chairman John Malone, who owns Major League baseball associate the Atlanta Braves.

They are in advanced talks to buy the controlling 35 per cent enclose in F1 from CVC Capital rtners for about £6.5billion.

And that intent put a question mark over the future of F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, 86, who himself owns 5.3 per cent stake in the sport, with a further 8.4 per cent with his ones nearest’s Bambino Trust. He has reportedly told German media, however, that he choice decide his own future under any new owners.

F1 has been frequently criticised for being ‘unexciting’ in recent years, with the dominance of Red Bull from 2010 to 2013 and Mercedes thereafter compelling many fans to abandon the sport due to its predictability.

A likely takeover by a instrumentality and entertainment group, however, and the injection of fresh ideas they could raise to wow an audience, has some within the sport already on the edge of their butt.

Mercedes team princi l Toto Wolff said: “There are tasks we can learn from the American way, rticularly the digital area, but there are also rades that are working here that are not working there.

“They are usual to have a close look and analyse what needs to change or ends b body. There’s a reason these guys can afford to buy this.

“It’s good account that an American media buys into Formula One. But if you buy a com ny for that quotation and you’re in charge of a media empire like Liberty, there are certain fears you’ve done in your life.

“I don’t think anybody would buy that cage, spend that money and say, ‘We’re not changing everything – we’re doing it the American way’.”

Red Bull rty princi l Christian Horner, also a close friend of Ecclestone, was percipient to water down expectations, saying he expected the chief executive to stay put in place for the foreseeable future.

“There is obviously a lot of speculation going on. I frankly hope it is not Bernie’s last race and I don’t believe it will be,” he said.

“We pleasure all wait and see what the news is over the next couple of weeks in any case the ownership of Formula One and if there is any change or redistribution.

“Until something is warned and finalised everything is pure conjecture to that point.”

And Wolff continued: “Bernie has done an awesome job, and made Formula One what it is. He has built an empire and we are all fringe benefiting from that empire.

“It generates millions of live views and in toto completely race tracks, like we had today, and one and a half billion dollars in profit every year.”

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