Formula One Management (FOM) has issued a statement signed by Bernie Ecclestone which denies the sale of shares in SLEC, F1's commercial holding company. Recently there have been a lot of stories about various people apparently intent on buying SLEC, of which Ecclestone is a 25% shareholder and investment banks control the other 75%, but Ecclestone claimed the shares are not for sale.
"It has been reported that approaches have been made in relationship to the sale by the controlling shareholders of SLEC," said the statement. "Although the approach has been made, the answer has been that the company shares are not for sale. The shareholders are long term investors and have the interest and stability of Formula One foremost in their mind."
Recent reports suggested that financier Robin Saunders was heading a $1.5 billion bid in a plan to eventually see the teams take control of the franchise. BSkyB satellite television chief James Murdoch has also been linked with a consortium interested in F1 and previously Hong Kong corporation Hutchison Whampoa was supposedly in talks about a deal.
The statement, which did not specify who the approach had been made by, was issued on Tuesday August 30th, the night before a meeting between the teams, manufacturers and the FIA. Still only three teams -- Ferrari, Red Bull and Jordan/Midland -- have signed a renewal of the Concorde Agreement from 2008 and Wednesday's talks are to discuss the future of the sport.