Fashion magnate shops for F1 team
Lotus, Caterham and Marussia jostle to be snapped up by billionaire behind Ralph Lauren
Billionaire businessman Lawrence Stroll is looking to buy an F1 team. The 55-year-old Canadian has held talks with Lotus, Marussia and Sauber, and, according to insiders, is keen to buy a team so he has somewhere for his 15-year-old son, Lance, a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy, to race when he is old enough.
Stroll, who made his fortune through the Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilger and Michael Kors brands is calculated by Forbes magazine to be worth $2.3billion – putting him in the same wealth ballpark as F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone.
He is a racing enthusiast, but it is unclear whether he understands either how much money he would need to buy a team, or the resources needed to run it effectively thereafter.
Nor is it entirely clear whether Stroll wants to buy a team outright, or take a shareholding that gives him some level of inuence. All three teams with which he has held talks are struggling nancially to one degree or another, and there is uncertainty as to whether they will make it onto the grid next season – as is also the case with Caterham.
Most back-of-the-grid teams are seeking new investors in the wake of failed attempts to impose budget caps or meaningful cost reductions. The precarious nancial position of some teams was highlighted when Williams, currently ghting Ferrari for third place in the constructors’ championship, posted losses of £20million for the rst half of 2014.
Meanwhile Lotus, who lost £64million in 2013, say they have improved their nancial position and cut their losses to £6m for the rst half of this year.