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'Saudi Arabia bid has been misinterpreted'

'Saudi Arabia bid has been misinterpreted'

24 January - 12:24 Last update: 15:57


Formula 1 analyst Craig Slater has downplayed the rumours surrounding a possible takeover of F1. At Sky Sports Slater addressed rumours that Saudi Arabia would be in the market to take over the sport and the analyst disclosed what his sources had to say about the situation.

Recently, Bloomberg announced that the government of Saudi Arabia - through the sovereign wealth fund PIF - would have made a $20 billion bid for Formula 1 in 2022. Although this was almost five times as much as Liberty Media had paid in 2017, Liberty Media would have still turned down that bid. FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem previously lashed out at the suggestion that Formula 1 was for sale and made it clear that potential buyers should offer more than just money.

'It has been misinterpreted'

According to Slater, it is all a bit more nuanced than Bloomberg conveyed it. "Sources have told me they think that perhaps discussions about sponsorship, which went on a year, eighteen months ago, which concerns in Saudi-Arabia has been misinterpreted as a bid for the sport itself," Slater explained. "I’ve spoken to a few figures in Formula One teams who have also told me they’ve been given absolutely no indication whatsoever that Liberty Media has been considering selling the commercial rights. And as far as we know, whatever got started certainly hasn’t come to anything at all."

Slater and Bloomberg do not necessarily contradict each other. Bloomberg's original reports immediately made it clear that Liberty Media had turned down a possible bid, which could explain why the teams had not heard anything about it at the time. If Slater's sources are right and it was indeed just a sponsorship deal, that would mean Bloomberg was misinformed by its sources. For now, neither the FIA, Liberty Media nor the PIF have clarified the situation.

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