Exor/Fiat CEO John Elkann with Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo trackside

It may have seemed far-fetched when the news first broke, and Bernie Ecclestone may think it will never amount to anything, but the reports of a plan to buy-out Formula 1 have proven factual.

The initial reports indicated that Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, together with an unnamed second investor (speculated to be connected to Ferrari), were looking into acquiring the commercial rights to the premier motor racing series, which are currently held by CVC Capital and directed by Ecclestone. That second party turns out the be Exor, the investment company owned by the Agnelli family and chaired by its scion John Elkann, who also heads up the Fiat Group... which in turn owns Ferrari.

Exor has confirmed that it and News Corp are interested in buying all or part of the F1 business, although it admits that its interest alone won't necessarily lead to the deal's completion. After all, CVC would have to be willing to sell, and sources don't expect that to come any time soon. But then, everything has its price.

The notion of Ferrari's owners also owning F1, of course, will lead to much speculation, particularly since the team's former chief executive Jean Todt already presides over the FIA, the body which governs everything about the sport that Formula One Management doesn't. Follow the jump for the brief announcement from Exor. {C}
Show full PR text

Joint Statement

EXOR, one of Europe's largest listed investment companies, and News Corporation, the global media group, confirm that they are in the early stages of exploring the possibility of creating a consortium with a view to formulating a long-term plan for the development of Formula One in the interests of the participants and the fans.

Over the coming weeks and months, EXOR and News Corporation will approach potential minority partners and key stakeholders in the sport. There can be no certainty that this will lead to an approach to Formula One's current owners.

Turin/London, May 3, 2011

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      I guess if your team's cars aren't up to snuff, you might as well try to buy out the whole series...
        • 4 Years Ago
        My thoughts exactly. I don't love Bernie, but I hate Ferrari. I don't trust them to keep anything fair. I read today that they announced they plan to be aggressive at the next race...that's scary, they already won't let anyone pass, and ram people like Lewis, I hate to see aggressive if they haven't been thus far.
          • 4 Years Ago
          You can't blame Ferrari for all the bad things in Formula One. F1 is basically owned by the Brits when you think about it.
      Kuro Houou
      • 4 Years Ago
      I for once actually think this conflict of interests is a good thing. Ferrari is so opposed to the 4 cyl-turbo engine change, this might actually make it not happen!! Anything to keep at least the V8's in those race cars is good news for me!!
      Jonathan Wilson
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think F1 should return to the days of "anything goes" with no restrictions on cylinder count, turbocharger/supercharger size, engine size, amount/size/shape of aerodynamic plastic/metal/carbon fiber bits, top speeds, cornering speeds or whatever else. If there is a concern about teams spending too much money, just set a spending limit on how much each 2-car team can spend and let them decide how best to spend it. Also, they should completly outlaw the last vestiges of tobacco advertising in F1 and prohibit any F1 team from having any deals with any tobacco company (regardless of what is actually printed on the cars). Thinking specifically here of the funky deal between Ferrari and Marlborough that uses loopholes to be allowed to continue to exist
      wonky donky.
      • 4 Years Ago
      AB, get your act together! That is not Luca De Montezemolo, it's Rutger Hauer! Harrison Ford is somewhere in the stands looking to shoot him.