Steiner reported to be eyeing F1 return as team owner

Steiner reported to be eyeing F1 return as team owner

Guenther Steiner has been rumored to be eyeing a possible F1 return as a team owner but there are a few opportunities at the moment.

It has been reported that former Haas team principal Guenther Steiner is considering an epic return to Formula 1 as a team owner and is exploring opportunities to acquire one of the teams on the grid.

Steiner has remained actively involved in motorsport after leaving Haas at the beginning of the year due to strategic differences and he has been working as a television pundit with several broadcasters, including Channel 10 over the Australian Grand Prix weekend.

However, the Italian has been the subject of the most recent rumors circulating within the paddock linking him to a possible return to Formula One, albeit as a team owner.

According to a report by the Japanese publication Autosport-web, he is in talks with an investor ready to back his venture to acquire an existing team and the vision for his potential squad is clear and ambitious as he is known for his straightforward management style.

There have been rumors linking him to a deal involving the acquisition of RB, though Steiner explicitly denied reaching out to Red Bull about such a deal when questioned by Speedcafe.

For the first time since its takeover by Red Bull in 2006, RB (formerly AlphaTauri) has been relaunched with a new identity, mission, and financial support for 2024.

Besides the Italian squad, six of the nine teams on the grid have been simply ruled out as possible targets. Red Bull Racing, Sauber, Mercedes, and Ferrari are off the market as they are all successfully operating as manufacturers with dedicated owners.

On the other hand, Aston Martin’s relatively new owners have demonstrated that they are committed to moving the team forward by building a new factory and several other facilities. In addition to those five, acquiring Haas is unrealistic.

The goal of Steiner’s previous team’s unique business strategy is to be competitive and function rather than only aim for victories and titles. It is heavily dependent on Ferrari and has a dispersed organizational structure, operating in at least four locations across three nations.

There are now just three realistic choices remaining: Williams, Alpine, and McLaren and considering the fact that McLaren is an organization that does more than just race cars, it is an interesting case.

It is believed that Bahraini sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat, the current majority shareholder of McLaren Group, is keen to sell the road vehicle division but retain the F1 team.

McLaren Group is the holding company that owns both companies and has a 70% ownership in McLaren Racing—the branch that encompasses Formula 1, IndyCar, Extreme E, and Formula E.

According to reports, the road car division has struggled recently as Mumtalakat has invested over $3 billion in the road automobile industry, with over $500 million invested in just the previous year alone.

Therefore, acquiring McLaren would necessitate both a willingness to sell the company’s more stable and profitable division and a restructure of the Group to make room for the acquisition.

While this isn’t impossible, the current owners have little need to look into it outside of their own self-interest, which is the sale of the road car company.

Investing in Williams or Alpine is much easier because these Formula 1 teams lack the structural complexity of McLaren. Renault owns the majority of the shares at Alpine, but it did attract investors in June of last year when it sold a 24 percent equity stake for €200 million.

After the deal was finalized, the team was valued at $900 million Forbes increased that figure to $1.4 billion the following month, placing the team ahead of Aston Martin as the fifth most valuable team in F1.

Alpine has been the subject of sale rumours despite Bruno Famin’s denials. A potential investor would most likely have to pay USD $1.1 billion for a 76 percent interest in such a venture.

This leaves Williams as the only other feasible choice. It was acquired by Dorilton Capital in August 2020 for a reported USD $200 million, and as of right now, Forbes estimates its value to be $725 million.

Grove has a lot of work ahead, and James Vowles is leading the charge to make up for decades of insufficient funding. A considerable amount of additional funding will be needed for that task; some of it will be covered by the F1 cost cap, but some of it won’t.

Although it should be the easiest to acquire out of the three activities, it takes the greatest effort to become competitive. On the other hand, Alpine is appealing since a large portion of the infrastructure is present, with staff and structure appearing to be the current weak points.

To propel the team ahead, new investment may rekindle interest in it among prospective employees; however, this is contingent upon Renault’s desire to reduce its exposure to that of a mere power unit provider going forward.

In all cases, a deal is anything but straightforward when the sport experiences a surge in popularity. As a result of this, team value has shot up dramatically and continues to rise, making this an inadvisable time for financially astute owners to sell.

On the other hand, since the market seems likely to keep on expanding, this is the ideal moment to buy. Even if returns aren’t as high as they were at the time Dorilton invested, value can still be raised.

That’s where Steiner’s F1 return along with his investor gets complicated. Even if people are willing to invest, it can be very challenging to find a good opportunity in such a tough setting.

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