Brown: No F1 teams for sale, it’s a seller’s market

Michelle Foster
McLaren driver Lando Norris makes a pit stop. Brazil November 2021

Lando Norris makes a pit stop, surrounded by his McLaren mechanics, hard tyres going on. Brazil November 2021

Zak Brown reckons such is the interest in this year’s F1 championship that all the teams have benefitted, creating a “seller’s market” and “no one wants to sell”.

This season has been arguably the best championship in years with Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton racing wheel-to-wheel for the World title, McLaren fighting Ferrari for third place in the Constructors’ Championship, and four of the 10 teams winning races, eight of the ten stepping onto the podium.

It’s a season that Brown feels has paid off for all the teams, creating an interest in Formula 1 that hasn’t been seen in years.

With that interest comes money, and that comes at a time when the teams are also under a budget come which has slashed their yearly spending.

Such is the interest in Formula 1, especially in a growing American market, that Michael Andretti entered talks with Sauber about buying their Formula 1 team. Those talks ultimately fell apart with reports suggesting it was money and the asking price that put paid to a deal.

If that is the case Brown wouldn’t be surprised as Formula 1 is currently a “seller’s market” such is the success of the series.

“I think the health of the teams has never been stronger,” the McLaren CEO told City AM.

“In Formula 1, there’s always been two or three teams in trouble at any one time. Now you have 10 very well funded teams by very credible individuals or investment groups.

“Sauber was saved by [Tetrapak heir] Finn Rausing a few years ago. And here he is just a couple of years later, counting down $400m (£302m) for the racing team.

“I’m now getting phone calls on a routine basis, from very significant sports investors, really keen on buying Formula 1 teams, and there’s no team to buy.

“It’s become a seller’s market, and no one wants to sell.

“Formula 1 has brought in a lot of partners, we’ve brought in a lot of partners, other racing teams have brought on a lot of partners. So I think the overall commercial health of the sport is awesome.”

Brown, though, reckons Mercedes’ recent controversial sponsorship deal with construction firm Kingspan shows that teams have to be very selective.

Mercedes faced an instant backlash after announcing the deal, Kingspan part of the Grenfell Tower tragedy in which 72 people lost their lives.

Mercedes announced a few days later that they had withdrawn from the agreement.

“I think who we are associated with is very important to us,” Brown said. “If you look at the companies that we’re associated with, they’re all global leading businesses or fast moving, fast growing businesses.

“We undertake, before we do any partnership, a lot of due diligence. You can imagine when you land Coca-Cola as a partner, you don’t need to do that much due diligence. But yes, that is something that we do a lot of homework on.


“Who are we doing business with? Are they like minded? Do they share the same passions and brand attributes just saw us? We would not put together a partnership with someone we were uncomfortable with.

“We’re financially doing very well. We’re doing very well with corporate partners. We can now be selective.”