Ineos ‘in £700m bid to buy Mercedes’ with chemicals giant and Sir Jim Ratcliffe set to take 70 per cent share in Formula One team
- Mercedes’ Formula One team are close to signing a £700million sale to Ineos
- The chemical company agreed a £100m sponsorship with the team this season
- It has been claimed Ineos will take up a 70 per cent share in the manufacturer
- The investment would mark Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s most significant foray into sport
Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes Formula One team is close to signing a £700 million deal that will see it sold to chemicals giant Ineos and Britain’s richest man, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, it was claimed on Saturday night.
Ineos, who agreed a £100m sponsorship agreement with Mercedes at the start of the season, bought cycling’s former Team Sky last year.
The company, which also own French football club Nice and are funding Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup yachting challenge, have agreed to buy a 70 per cent share in the German team, according to former F1 team boss Eddie Jordan and another source close to the deal.
Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes Formula One team is close to signing a £700million sale to Ineos
The company, run by Sir Jim Ratcliffe, have agreed to take up a 70 per cent share in the team
The investment would mark billionaire Ratcliffe’s most significant foray yet into the world of sport and would be likely to mean that Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, who is expected to sell his 30 per cent stake to Ineos, would move into a new advisory role.
Mercedes have consistently denied rumours that they are planning to sell a controlling interest in the team and their stance did not change on Saturday. They still insist the team will continue to be called Mercedes next season and the season afterwards. ‘We ask for your understanding that we don’t comment on rumour and speculation,’ the team said in response to the claims.
‘The ownership of the team is going to be taken over by Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Ineos,’ Jordan said. ‘The Ineos name is already on the side of the car anyway and they have this technological partnership so this is a nice way out for Mercedes. The team will be called Ineos but it will still be run from the factory in Brackley and Mercedes will retain a 30 per cent share in it. It will not be known as Mercedes any more and Toto Wolff, the team principal, will no longer be in charge.
Mercedes have denied rumours that they are planning to sell a controlling interest in the team
Former F1 team boss Eddie Jordan (above) and another source have shed light on the deal
‘It has become difficult for them. How can they keep winning? How can they improve on what they have already done? They can’t. Toto’s reputation as one of the great team leaders in the history of the sport is already secure. What he has achieved at Mercedes puts him in the same league as Ron Dennis at McLaren and Jean Todt at Ferrari but all good things come to an end.’
Three months ago, Mercedes responded publicly to speculation that they were to sell a controlling interest in the team.
‘It is our clear intention to continue competing in Formula 1 as a Mercedes-Benz works team in the years to come, and to do so with our managing partner, Toto Wolff.’
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