Ecclestone Insists F1 Will Not Go to Hutchison
The speculation that Formula One might soon be under new ownership was correct, but contrary to reports, the sport will not be falling into Far Eastern hands, the Daily Telegraph has reported.
Bernie Ecclestone yesterday dismissed talk of a $1 billion bid from a Hong Kong-based conglomerate, Hutchison Whampoa. “I spoke to Hutchison. They sent a boy to do a man’s job. We are not interested in selling to them. We get offers like this every day, but it is not what we want for the future of F1,” Mr Ecclestone told the newspaper.
The prospects for growth in Asia are widely recognised. Grand prix in Malaysia and China have been successfully added to the calendar in recent years, providing cash for F1 and kudos for the countries. And when India-born Jordan driver, Narain Karthikeyan, made his first start his season there were reportedly more Indians watching F1 than the nation’s cricket test match against Pakistan.
However, for any bid to succeed it must satisfy F1’s ruling body, the FIA, that it is in the best interests of F1 that ownership changes hands. The FIA veto would almost certainly scupper any bid from financial prospectors.
According to the Telegraph, ownership change is far more likely to come from within. Bernie Ecclestone has reportedly expressed his hope that the manufacturers and the teams to which they are bound step into the breach and acquire the 75 per cent share held by the banks.
“What I would like is for the teams and the manufacturers to sort themselves out and own the sport so they can then control everything from the commercial rights to the TV, nice and beautiful,” Mr Ecclestone said. “Talks with the manufacturers are ongoing. There is no time frame but we are confident we can sort it out.”