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Formula 1 takeover must clear two hurdles

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Formula 1 takeover must clear two hurdles

Formula 1 takeover must clear two hurdles

F1’s sale to US tycoon John Malone’s Liberty Media is yet to clear two significant hurdles.

The first is the approval of the sport’s governing body, the FIA.

FIA president Jean Todt said in a statement that while he welcomes the “long-term investment” by an impressive company, the FIA needs “further information” about the “possible consequences” of the deal.

The second hurdle is the European Commission.

Firstly, the EC must simply approve a transaction of this sort, but F1 business journalist Christian Sylt also warned of a potential “conflict of interest”.

That is because the FIA has a dual role as an approver of the buyout deal as well as a potential beneficiary due to its 1 per cent stake in F1’s commercial rights.

“In short, the answer is that the FIA should not have the share under the current circumstances as it gives it a conflict of interest,” a source told us.

“I can’t see the FIA giving up a $100m asset though!”

Elsewhere, the sale by CVC to Liberty Media is being widely welcomed.

“We all know that something had to be done to bring the sport back to a higher level,” German motor racing official Hans-Joachim Stuck told SID news agency.

“Whatever the new investor does could not actually be much worse.”

Some wonder if Liberty Media, having installed 21st Century Fox executive Chase Carey as the new chairman, will ‘Americanise’ F1 now.

Carey is quoted by Bild newspaper: “I want to point out that the established markets, especially Europe, are the home and foundation of formula one.

“To build the sport in Europe on the existing foundation must be a priority. In the longer team, America and Asia are opportunities, but it will not happen overnight,” he added.

Mercedes chairman Dieter Zetsche also welcomed Liberty to F1, saying the deal contains “more opportunity than risk”.

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