Bernie Ecclestone Says F1 IPO On Hold At Least Until Next Year When Markets Change
F1 Management Chair Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that the “much-anticipated” US$10B flotation of the racing circuit “will not take place until market conditions improve," according to Sylt & Reid of the London TELEGRAPH. Ecclestone said, "The float won’t happen this year, but next year it will if the markets change. No IPOs have gone through, only Manchester United. I was surprised that they let it go through at the price. First the price and secondly the amount" (London TELEGRAPH, 9/26). Meanwhile, with the future of the proposed F1 race in New Jersey in jeopardy, the Bergen RECORD's John Brennan noted Ecclestone has been known to “drive a hard bargain,” but there also are questions about whether race organizers “bit off more than they could chew by agreeing to privately fund the event.” Brennan asked, “How do you get enough corporate sponsors to pony up enough dough for an event that has never occurred and that is somewhat difficult to even imagine? And wouldn’t you be a little leery of writing checks for an event whose tour czar keeps suggesting the race will never happen?” (NORTHJERSEY.com, 9/25). In London, Kevin Easton noted cancelling the New Jersey race would “come at in inauspicious time for Formula One, which already has a major job repairing its image with a sceptical American public.” McLaren-Mercedes Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh said, “We’ve got to recognise that we’ve got to work harder at it than probably any market we’ve worked at. We go around parts of Asia, South America and Europe -- one could plonk a grand prix down and there’s a natural fanbase. ... In America, they have lots of great sports they’ve got lots of entertainment opportunities other than Formula One” (THETIMES.co.uk, 9/25).
THUMBS UP: In Austin, John Maher noted Circuit of the Americas “passed its final inspection Tuesday with flying colors.” F1 Race Dir & Safety Delegate Charlie Whiting “not only declared the circuit ready for the U.S. Grand Prix in less than two months, he praised the track’s design and workmanship” (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 9/26).