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GP Week : Issue 158
BRIEFLY » Ticket sales for Novembers US Grand Prix in Austin are going so well that organisers are now considering building additional grandstands to meet demand. “We have experienced incredible demand for reserved grandstand seating tickets, and customers have quickly purchased our available inventory,” said Julie Loignon, COTA’s vice president of public and community relations. “As such, we are considering installing more reserved seats between Turns 9 and 10 and between Turns 11 and 12 in place of other types of seating that had been planned for those areas. We will release more information about new grandstand inventory and when additional reserved seats might be available for purchase as soon as possible. ... We are extremely pleased with how things are going overall, since our public ticket sales began less than a week ago.” » Silly season is already well underway, with endless rumours surrounding the future homes of Felipe Massa, Mark Webber, and Lewis Hamilton, all of whom will be out of contract with their current teams come the end of the year. This is nothing new for Webber, who has shown he prefers to sign one-year contracts with Red Bull, but Hamilton and Massa find themselves at the end of long-term deals with their current teams, and the prospect of empty seats at Ferrari and McLaren has got the rumour- mill spinning. Massa’s recent upturn in performance has put an end to the gossip that the Brazilian would be out of a drive before the end of the season, but there are no guarantees of a future with Ferrari. Another rumour doing the rounds sees Kimi Raikkonen parting ways with Lotus. But while there is certainly some friction within the team – friction which is unlikely to disappear before the Finn’s car is finally to his liking – stories of an imminent departure are little more than scurrilous gossip. Over the weekend in emerged that CVC Capital Partners had nearly halved its stake in Formula One over the course of the year, thanks to investment firm Waddell & Reed picking up another $500 million stake in the business. “CVC Capital Partners is pleased to announce that several funds managed by Waddell & Reed Investment Management Company and Ivy Investment Management Company have today agreed to invest a further $500m in a private placement in Formula 1 at $9.1bn enterprise value, increasing their aggregate stake to 20.9 per cent,” the private equity firm announced on their website. CVC had a 63 per cent stake in Formula One, but this latest news, which follows on from May’s $1.6 billion deal with Waddell & Reed, BlackRock, and Nor way's Norges Bank Investment Management, sees the private equity firm’s total share in the business reduced to 35 percent. According to the financial analysts at Reuters, this latest deal with Waddell & Reed will reduce the pressure on CVC to get F1 listed on the Singapore stock market. The Formula One IPO expected to take place this summer was delayed two weeks ago following concerns about stability in the markets; as yet there is no news concerning a revised schedule for the flotation. With a 21 per cent stake in the business, Waddell & Reed are now part owners of Formula One. The investment management firm, which is based in Kansas, is itself a publicly traded company. One of the core elements of their business is retirement planning and pension packages. As such, many of their investments are businesses with long-term growth potential. The fact that Waddell & Reed have decided to acquire a sizeable stake in Formula One speaks volumes about their confidence in the future viability of the sport. The timing of the purchase, which coincides with F1’s long overdue return to America, is also very telling. ANOTHER $500 MILLION F1 STAKE SOLD BY CVC FIA NAME WOMEN IN MOTORSPORT COMMISSION AMBASSADORS Former WRC winner and president of the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission Michèle Mouton, Sauber CEO Monisha Kaltenborn, DTM and Williams F1 development driver Susie Wolff, Marussia test driver Maria de Villota, and IndyCar’s Katherine Legge were named as the Commission’s ambassadors. “We believe it is possible to change people’s perception of women’s role in motor sport, but we need the help of our National Co-ordinators too; they can see the issues they face in their own countries and through the Commission and our Federation – the FIA – we hope to be able to change attitudes and perceptions,” Mouton said at the launch event in Paris. “Our Ambassadors are also proof that women can be successful, and there are a whole host of other women around the world who are high achievers in our sport. It is our job, that of our Co-ordinators and Ambassadors – as well as all the partners and stakeholders in our sport – to try and remove barriers that may exist and to demonstrate that gender is not an obstacle when you want to succeed in your chosen field.” GPWEEK attended the launch event, where one of the hot topics of discussion was education. While many have assumed that the aim of the Commission is to get female drivers into the top tier of international motorsport across a range of series, the real goal is to open up access to motorsport careers across the board, be they technical, comms, media, administrative, and many more besides. While efforts such as F1 in Schools promote STEM careers to pupils of both genders – forty per cent of 2011 F1 in Schools finalists were female – there is a growing awareness that more needs to be done on an educational level to promote motorsport as a viable career choice for both genders. “Women nowadays do have the competence, the self-confidence and the education to follow a professional career in any area they choose, but still they need the right opportunities to achieve their goals,” said Kaltenborn. “The challenge now is to develop the platforms for them, so they have equal chances to show their abilities in all business areas they are interested in, which may include motor sport.” (L to R): Donald Mackenzie (GBR) CVC Capital Partners Managing Partner - Co Head of Global Investments, Peter Brabeck-Lethmathe (AUT) and Bernie Ecclestone (GBR) CEO Formula One Group (FOM). Ambassador Michèle Mouton F1 >>> NEWS 9 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: