F1

Spyker Cars become new owner of MF1 Racing

As night fell in Monza, Italy, Midland Group and Spyker Cars N.V. reached an agreement that allows Spyker to acquire the assets of the Midland F1 Racing Limited (MF1 Racing). The United Kingdom-based team confirmed the deal with the sports car ...

As night fell in Monza, Italy, Midland Group and Spyker Cars N.V. reached an agreement that allows Spyker to acquire the assets of the Midland F1 Racing Limited (MF1 Racing). The United Kingdom-based team confirmed the deal with the sports car company.

"The decision to sell the team has been one of the most difficult I have ever faced," stated Midland Group Chairman Alex Shnaider. "It is never easy to relinquish something into which one has devoted so much energy and passion. However, as much as I had hoped to witness the continuing growth of the team under our ownership, I truly believe this transaction is in the best interests of everyone involved -- Midland Group, Spyker, and the team."

Victor R. Muller, Chief Executive Officer of Spyker Cars N.V. including their new acquisition, Spyker MF1 Racing, gave his remarks about their new challenge: "Formula One arena is an unparalleled way to both underline Spyker's commitment to racing and to benefit from a massive increase in brand awareness around the globe.

"It is my strong conviction that Formula One racing transmits values which are entirely in line with our brand values: heritage, design, craftsmanship, performance and exclusivity. Moreover, we expect that the Spyker road cars will seriously benefit from the F1 technology that we now have in-house," added Muller.

The new name for the team will be known as Spyker MF1 Racing. The Director of Formula One Racing for the new subsidiary of Spyker will be Michiel Mol. Colin Kolles will remain team principal and Mike Gascoyne has been named the Chief of Technology.

"Today my lifelong ambition became reality," said Mol. "After being involved with Formula One as a sponsor of teams and drivers for almost 10 years I will now participate as a shareholder in a very ambitious manufacturer-owned Formula One Team.

"Mike Gascoyne joining us is a milestone and the ultimate proof of our ambitions. Together with Colin Kolles he will be able to build a winning team. Hopefully it will not take too long before we hear the Dutch anthem in Formula One for the first time ever. I have a new challenge and nothing is impossible!"

Gascoyne is familiar with the Silverstone team as he was formerly technical director with Jordan from 1998 to 2000. He moved to Benetton in 2001 to head the engineering department for two years and then joined Toyota in 2003. Gascoyne and Toyota parted company in April this year, the team citing "differences of opinion."

Gascoyne will start his role on November 1st while both Mol and Kolles' positions are effective as of September 9th. The acquisition will be final on September 30, 2006.

Spyker plans to announce their engine supplier for 2007 shortly.

"Spyker, headed by Victor Muller and Michiel Mol, consists of a strong group of investors with the resources, planning and capacity to further develop the team," commented Shnaider. "I am confident that under their leadership, the future of the team rests in good hands, and I would not have agreed to this sale under any other circumstances."

The name Spyker is well known in the circles of sports car enthusiasts and in the world of racing. They have competed in FIA GT races, the Le Mans Series and the American Le Mans Series. The team has also fielded cars at the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The Midland Group initially planned to enter F1 in 2006 as a new team but announced in January 2005 that it had taken over Jordan Grand Prix. The team raced as Jordan that year then changed name to MF1 for 2006. Ever since Midland bought Jordan there have been rumours that it was for sale and Spyker officially confirmed its interest in August.

MF1 currently races Christijan Albers and Tiago Monteiro and has several test drivers. Spyker did not mention drivers in its statement but Dutchman Albers is thought likely to stay on. Monteiro recently said his management was close to finalizing contracts, although Red Bull's Christian Klien has also been linked with the team.

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