25 Jun 2015

Americans keen on buying F1

11:44 am on 25 June 2015

The owner of the Miami Dolphins football team is joining forces with Qatar to buy a controlling stake in Formula One in a deal that could be worth up to $11 billion.

Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins Photo: PHOTOSPORT

According to an unidentified source, the Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is set on acquiring a 35.5 percent stake from the private equity fund CVC Capital Partners Ltd, and a deal could be done within six weeks, injecting new leadership into a sport facing falling TV audiences and ticket sales.

Formula One's impresario, 84-year-old Bernie Ecclestone, who has ruled over the sport for four decades, would stay on to lead the racing side of the business.

Ecclestone, a former second-hand car salesman and team owner, has been a controversial figure and last year agreed to pay a German court $145 million to settle a bribery case.

Bernie Ecclestone

Bernie Ecclestone Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Meanwhile the former McLaren motor racing boss Martin Whitmarsh says he is saddened by the current state of Formula One, fearing it might "crash and burn" before eventually recovering.

The 57-year-old Briton, who was ousted by the McLaren Group head Ron Dennis in January last year, feels Formula One is still struggling to adapt to changing circumstances, and his former employer, the second most successful team in history, hasn't won a race since 2012 - and have scored only four points in eight grands prix this season.

Whitmarsh, who was appointed in March chief executive for the British America's Cup yachting challenger Ben Ainslie Racing, says he still watches Formula One on TV as a fan.

At the same time, Formula One has suffered a wave of negativity with leading figures - including commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone and the bosses of former champions Red Bull - talking it down.

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