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GP Week : Issue 134
F1 NEWS >> BrITISH newspaper The Independent reported this week that the Formula One Teams’ association has hired an adviser to investigate the viability of acquiring a stake in Formula One. According to the report, FOTA chairman Martin Whitmarsh has confirmed that the teams have secured the services of DC Advisory Partners to act on their behalf in the forthcoming Concorde Agreement negotiations. While the concept of the teams acquiring a stake in Formula One is not a new one, the current iteration appears to be gaining traction. The recent scandal involving German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky has made the investors at CVC very nervous, and last week saw a special meeting to discuss the effect of the affair on the investment fund. The combination of nervous investors, Concorde Agreement negotiations, and bad publicity for the sport creates an ideal climate for the teams to consider staking a greater financial claim to their sport. With a financial stake in the sport, the teams will be in a stronger negotiating position when it comes to determining the future financing of Formula One. The opportunity is there to redistribute the sport’s income in such a way that the teams and circuits can take a greater slice of the profits, enabling ticket prices to be lowered. Teams confirm interest in ownership stake FOr much of the last month, rumours have been flying that the Lotus-Lotus naming row has come to a conclusion, although you could hardly call it an amicable one. It was first rumoured in Spa that Team Lotus owner Tony Fernandes had come to an agreement with the Malaysian government that the entrepreneur will hand over the Team Lotus name but retain the iconic green and gold branding for Team Caterham AirAsia. Speaking to Autosport, Fernandes gave his strongest hint yet that the rumours were true. “I always had a problem with ‘am I really Team Lotus?’ I always said that era was theirs, we were just bringing it back under new ownership,” Autosport quote Fernandes as saying. “It was up to the fans whether they liked us or not. “But there was a business behind it as well. You can’t have a name and not monetise it. Effectively we are marketing someone else. I don’t think this is healthy for anyone – Lotus Renault, Team Lotus, whomever. “I’ve always said that protecting the brand is paramount and it’s not me that started all this. I didn’t have a claim, [Group Lotus] had a claim. And they lost that case. But I’ve always had the door open and it may be a win-win for everybody and we walk away. “I also always said we wanted to be in the car business and I never hid that fact. And now we have Caterham.” Despite their notoriously frosty relationship, Fernandes was seen talking with Group Lotus CEO Dany Team Lotus to become Caterham 11