Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has left the door open to joining Sir Jim Ratcliffe investing in English football giants Manchester United, but says any deal is “very far away.”
Ratcliffe, Britain’s second-richest man and founder of the INEOS petrochemicals company, is edging closer to acquiring a 25 per cent stake in Manchester United with a reported $1.5billion arrangement on the horizon.
The 71-year-old also owns a third of the Mercedes F1 team, with Ratcliffe’s existing professional relationship with Wolff sparking suggestions that the Austrian may also be open to being involved with Man Utd.
Toto Wolff to join Mercedes part-owner at Manchester United?
Wolff, whose own personal fortune reportedly hit the $1bn mark earlier this year, was asked about the speculation during Sky F1’s coverage of practice at this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix – and the 51-year-old hinted he would be open to it.
Asked if he would consider investing in Man Utd, he said: “Here we go… I [was interviewed by the] Press Association and [the reporter was asking] what I thought about Jim’s investment and whether I would join in.
“I said: ‘He’s such a clever person, if I could contribute I’d have a chat’ – but no, that’s very far away.”
Probed on the claims that he is now a billionaire, Wolff responded: “It’s not cash in the pocket, someone has come up with valuations.”
Wolff went on to claim he is no fan of a particular Premier League club, but expressed his admiration for the manager of Manchester United’s closest rivals, Man City boss Pep Guardiola, who has attended a number of grands prix as a guest of Mercedes over the last 12 months.
He said: “I’m a Premier League fan. I think it’s the toughest environment [but] I’m a Pep Guardiola fan so [investing in Man Utd is] not compatible!”
Controlled by the divisive Glazer family since 2005, Manchester United have endured a troubled start to the new season and currently sit a lowly eighth in the Premier League table having lost five of their opening 10 Premier League games.
The club have failed to win the English domestic title since the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson retired in May 2013.
F1 bosses have a history of investing into football clubs, with ex-F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone and former Renault team principal Flavio Briatore enjoying a spell in charge of London-based Queens Park Rangers between 2007 and 2011.
In 2022, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton – an Arsenal supporter – confirmed his involvement in an unsuccessful bid to take over Chelsea.