F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has said in a press conference that the sport will be sold in its entirety by the end of the year. Earlier this year, it was revealed Qatar Investments, who own European football club Paris Saint-Germain, were the most interested in being shareholders in the sport.
"There has been a lot of interest and there are three [parties looking to buy F1] at the moment. I will be surprised if one of them does not buy them shortly,” Ecclestone told assembled reporters.
When questioned about how soon this deal would occur, Ecclestone replied “this year.”
Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners hold the largest stake in F1, with 35.5% – which they purchased nearly a decade ago in 2006. Ecclestone himself holds just over 5%, and any sale would still keep him on the board, in addition to him keeping his share in Formula 1. He would also remain on the advisory board for the sport irrespective of its ownership.
At the same conference, Mercedes AMG Petronas boss Toto Wolff said it was important for the sport to have a "sustainable shareholder with a long-term perspective and vision".
There have been rumours of F1 buyouts in the past, but none of these have come to fruition yet.
However, with several business changes in the sport and multiple teams facing financial issues, new investments in the sport may perhaps be a welcome change. Several of the sport’s most iconic tracks – Monza and Silverstone – have both been financially strapped this year, with Monza looking unlikely to return as the venue of the Italian Grand Prix next year. If this is confirmed, it will mean San Marino will replace Monza as the venue of the Grand Prix instead.