As the 2016 season gets off to a rocky start, there’s a major power play in the works behind the scenes of Formula One. Investment firm CVC Capital Partners, which currently owns 35 percent of the world’s most prestigious racing series, may soon sell that stake, effectively putting F1 under new ownership.
F1 czar Bernie Ecclestone says a sale price has been agreed, and that CVC just needs to decide whether it wants to sell, according to Motorsport.com. There have been rumors that CVC would unload its stake for months, as well as speculation that American and Chinese parties were eyeing it. But this is the most public development on that front so far.
Ecclestone believes CVC will make a decision sooner rather than later. There are currently two interested parties that have agreed to the set price, and everyone is simply waiting on CVC’s decision of whether or not to sell, he said in an interview with The Mail on Sunday. Ecclestone would not disclose who these parties were, or the exact amount they had agreed on.
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He also said that, whoever the new owners end up being, there are no plans to add more races to the Formula One calendar. Expanding to be more than the current 21 races would be too taxing for teams, Ecclestone said, although he did note that Las Vegas has a contract that could lead to a future race, calling that “super.”
F1 has expanded greatly in recent years, but some venues have had trouble keeping up with the financial commitments required for hosting a grand prix. The U.S. race at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, is in doubt due to a shortfall in state funding.
This being Formula One, news of a potential sale and changes to the calendar aren’t the only pieces of gossip floating around the paddock. While Ecclestone and company negotiate, teams are still fighting over new “elimination” qualifying rules that were tried at the season opener in Australia. Teams voted unanimously to scrap the new rules, but they may still be used for the Bahrain Grand Prix this weekend.