Formula One parent company buys GP2 Series

Reports emerging over the weekend indicate that GP2 has been purchased by CVC Capital Partners for a reported $300 million. Dang.

What's GP2, you ask? It's a second-tier "feeder" racing series started in 2005 to give up-and-coming drivers a place to display their skills on a worldwide scale and a place for F1 teams to find new talent. The series was intended to replace the ageing Formula 3000 series, and has so far proven fairly successful. Nico Rosberg won the title in the series' inaugural season, and he's racing in F1. Lewis Hamilton won the championship last year and went head-first into title contention the next season in F1. Timo Glock won the crown this year, and will be heading to Toyota F1 next season. (Heikki Kovalainen and Nelson Piquet Jr. also made the jump to F1 through GP2.) Sounds like the idea has met its potential so far.

So who, then, is CVC Capital Partners? It's the private equity firm with a history of turning international racing series around into successful ventures. Contrary to popular perception, it's actually CVC that manages Formula One, having purchased the rights from Bernie Ecclestone and his associates in 2005 (although Bernie then bought an undisclosed portion of the CVC subsidiary running the show). Prior to effectively buying F1, CVC turned MotoGP into the successful two-wheel racing series it is today.

While it remains to be seen what tangible effects the deal with bring to bear on the series – it was Bernie who co-founded GP2, after all, and CVC already held the TV rights – it's bound to bring GP2 even closer to F1 in the coming seasons. The bottom line is that if you want to know who is next year's F1 rookie, watch GP2.

[Source: Motor Authority]

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