Formula One owners deny claims the sport is about to be sold
Formula One’s owners have insisted that they are not obliged to sell the sport despite speculation from Bernie Ecclestone that a quick sale is on the cards.
Donald Mackenzie, chairman of CVC Capital Partners, the controlling shareholders in Formula One, flatly denied claims by Ecclestone that the private equity firm must sell up soon, but there are several possible buyers in the mix.
Associates of Stephen Ross, the Miami Dolphins owner thought to be interested, were in Austin for the United States Grand Prix on Sunday.
There have also been links with investors from China and Qatar.
Much of the rumour mill has been triggered by Ecclestone, F1‘s chief executive, who has said that the sport would be sold by the end of the year.
If the sport is indeed for sale, it is only at the right price, having already made CVC billions.
“No, we are not obliged to sell,” Mackenzie told Motorsport.com.
“It is unlikely that we will be here forever, but we are definitely not obliged to sell. Bernie often says things he doesn’t mean.”
Mackenzie has proved to be the best ally for Ecclestone in recent years, keeping him on throughout his trial for bribery in Germany, and at the end of last year despite plans to bring in a city executive.
Ecclestone has often said that Mackenzie, an avowed fan of Formula One, would prefer not to sell his favourite asset.
The private equity chief has joined the 84-year-old in talking down the sport this year, but was thrilled after an astonishing race on Sunday, which saw Lewis Hamilton win his third world championship.
“It was brilliant, wasn’t it?” Mackenzie said.
“With the right ingredients, F1 is still fantastic.”