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Saddled with cash, Apple’s automotive ambitions may encompass Formula 1

Despite creative interpretations of what form Apple’s “Project Titan” car will take, everything is pure speculation at this point. The Apple Car may be a mass-production consumer vehicle, it might be a fully autonomous fleet model, it might purely be software for other semi-autonomous cars. Who knows.

But perhaps more interesting — at least in the near term — is a crop of rumors that Apple isn’t just planning one automotive endeavor, it’s considering another large-scale investment. Business Insider made note of Formula 1 blogger Joe Saward’s report outlining an F1 bid by Apple. “The whisper is that the latest bidder is Apple Inc., which is a company with $161 billion (£122 billion) in net cash at the moment,” he wrote.

This might seem like something out of left field, but the pieces in play on Apple’s side could validate the rumors. In addition to whatever resources are being applied to Project Titan, Apple’s TV platform and its inconceivably large pile of money could lead to something in the global sports or entertainment space. Though F1 has struggled to gain traction in the U.S., it is one of the most watched events elsewhere.

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And should the tech giant enter into the realm of F1, Apple’s vehicle project would surely benefit from the motor sport’s engineering resources and talent. In tandem, Apple TV may gain exclusive rights to F1 coverage, attracting Formula 1 fans who may have held off from abandoning cable simply because there has yet to be a viable source for non-network F1 viewing.

Substantiating the Apple F1 rumors slightly more is the fact that the company must invest its capital in foreign nations to avoid tax penalties related to U.S. investments. Oh, and F1 is very much in need of new ownership. The unloved F1 boss, Bernie Ecclestone, has stated that a majority stake in the series would cost about 6 billion pouns. For anyone else, that would be a daunting figure, but for Apple, that’s little more than a rounding error.

Apple, up to this point, hasn’t made regular investments on this scale, especially within the sporting arena, but there’s a first time for everything – and it must be running out of ideas for how to spend all that cash.