The question of a Renault F1 team buyout now seems to be one of “by whom” rather than “if.” It’s already been reported that Dave Richards and his Prodrive organization are in tentative negotiations with the French carmaker, and more recent reports have suggested that two other unnamed entities have also joined the fray.
A fourth suitor has also come to light. Mangrove Capital Partners, a venture capital firm based in Luxembourg, has confirmed interest in the team. As reported in The Telegraph, Gerard Lopez, co-founder of the firm, indicated that the changed economy of Formula 1 had opened up new opportunities, thus sparking Mangrove’s interest in team ownership.
Speaking at the Motor Sport Business Forum in Monaco, Lopez said, “We have been in F1 for quite a while as friends to lots of people there, we have done some business in the environment, and never thought about getting more heavily involved than that. The situation is such now that it presents an opportunity for new teams or new investors in a time, not of uncertainty, but of change. We are in the middle of times of change. We believe there is a chance now to enter the sport and build on a platform that will reinvent itself, and we can be part of that reinvention.”
Lopez recognized that buying an established team held certain advantages over starting a new team from scratch. “It would be very different from a start-up team,” he said. “If we were to do a deal with Renault, we would still be basing ourselves as a constructors’ team, but it will be a different kind of business.”
Lopez also acknowledged that the overall business plan must make sense: “For us, it is important to confirm the stability over time. The business opportunities should rely not on making more out of the team, but it should be about making money out of the business platform we have.”
Image by Klaus Nahr, licensed through Creative Commons.