Owning a third of the Mercedes Formula 1 team, Toto Wolff would make a huge profit if he were to sell his share in the championship-winning team.
That’s according to Sky Sports’ Craig Slater, who says “well-placed insiders” have told him “some” owners are considering selling up as they fear F1 has peaked at its market value.
According to Forbes, owning a Formula 1 team in today’s market is a lucrative business as costs have been slashed by the introduction of a budget cap, pushing the worth of some teams up to $1.88 billion.
‘Has the sport peaked, might this be not a bad time to kind of sell out?’
Such is the price of the existing teams, of which there are only 10 on the grid, that rejected F1 hopeful David Dicker, the founder of Rodin cars, told Racer earlier this year that he had “some talks about buying AlphaTauri, but the price is commercially unviable as far as I could understand it”.
He added that paying “$800-900million” for a backmarker team such as AlphaTauri was, as far as he was concerned, “not be considered commercially viable”.
But what about Mercedes?
According to Sky Sports’ Slater, “some” team owners are concerned that Formula 1 may have peaked in the market and could be persuaded to sell their shares.
For someone like Wolff, who owns a third of Mercedes, that could net an almost “three billion” pay-out.
“One or two well-placed insiders have told me that maybe some ownership within Formula 1 have looked at the value of their team has increased and have asked the question, has the sport peaked? Might this be not a bad time to kind of sell out?” the Sky Sports pundit said according to the Mirror.
“If you’re talking about Williams being sold for about £140million and now being worth towards maybe even a billion pounds, never mind dollars nowadays.
“It’s interesting that [the] Andretti [family] have tried to get in, maybe would be put off by the price tag of buying a team.
“Are they good value to buy right now an F1 team? Why are the big sovereign wealth funds… and I suppose people are talking about [the rumours of] Aramco buying Aston Martin from Lawrence Stroll and paying top dollar for that.
“If you were Dorilton [Capital, owners of Williams] or Toto Wolff or Lawrence Stroll, who bought it via liquidation, yes, he paid off a lot of the creditors, but you’ve maybe paid a couple hundred million, or I think Toto paid 50 million euros for his stake, it’s now worth three billion or whatever.
“Does that have its own incentive to sell, when in a few years you’ve made such a big gain, which is why I question, it must be quite tempting for some of these owners to maybe think about offloading it in the present climate, which is certainly benign compared to where it was a few years ago.”
This season Formula 1 raced in 22 venues, three in the United States alone, but there was always, at least it seemed after Miami, one winner.
Max Verstappen romped to the Drivers’ Championship title in a record-breaking season with Red Bull unchallenged as they claimed 21 of 22 wins. The only race they didn’t win was Singapore.
That meant Verstappen was able to wrap up the title at the Qatar Sprint and did so with six Grands Prix remaining.
According to Buzz Radar, a High Wycombe, UK-registered data analysis company, F1 has officially peaked in 2022.
“Using AI pattern detection and predictive intelligence, our team can determine, with a strong degree of confidence, that 2022 was a peak in F1 popularity for the foreseeable future, and we are now on a downward trajectory,” an October report read.
“We predict a steady decline in F1 interest online until the domination of Max Verstappen and Red Bull ends, and competition closes up.
“Our predictive model estimates that F1 could lose as much as 50% of the new audience it has gained by 2024 if the same driver continues to dominate the sport.”
The report added that fans are a lot more bored by F1 this year than they were in 2021 and even 2022.