If you want to own a Formula 1 team, the expression of interest form is due Friday, 17 February.
The FIA has not publicly committed to adding any teams to the ten that currently race. Still, people familiar with the process suggest that the organization would not entertain expressions of interest unless it felt confident in finding at least one worthy applicant. Liberty Media Corp., which owns the commercial rights to F1 under a 100-year contract with the FIA, has generally expressed a belief that popularizing the sport will probably require more teams, not fewer, primarily as it seeks to expand the league’s fan base beyond its western European core.
There are a lot of people who would like us to do it; most of them want to buy in.Greg Maffei
The highest-profile bid comes from Michael Andretti and General Motors, who announced last month they have teamed up to field an F1 entry. Andretti’s team would be the second American outfit after Haas.
Michael Andretti has said that he “…feels very strongly that we are suited to be a new team for Formula One and can bring value to the series and our partners, and excitement for the fans.”
The second known bidder is Panthera Team Asia, an organization co-founded by London-based Benjamin Durand.
Durand has confirmed to F1 industry publications that his group is applying to F1, aiming to expand its appeal into Asia and become the first team based in the region. However, the specific location is yet to be determined. After focusing on cementing the circuit in the U.S., Durand’s group sees Asia, particularly China, as the next logical focus for F1. However, the executive declined to comment further. Durand has extensive experience managing racing teams in France, Monaco, and the U.S.
The prize for an expansion team is entering an exclusive, highly valuable club.
Valuations for F1 teams vary, but investors valued McLaren Racing at $800 million just two years ago. And the worst-performing teams are still worth over $400 million, according to Maffei.
This is all largely thanks to the steps Liberty Media has taken — and continues to take — since gaining ownership of F1 in 2017 for $4.6 billion. In 2021, Liberty paid out $1.07 billion to competitors; in the first three quarters of 2022, payments were up more than 20% year-over-year, to $838 million.
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