Liberty faces competition for F1 sale

F1 Italian GP: Ecclestone slams 'silly, mad' F1 regulations

Other parties said to have considered buying into F1 include Qatar Sports Investments, which owns Paris Saint-Germain football club; and Stephen Ross, owner of the Miami Dolphins football team. Liberty Media declined to comment.

A potential Liberty Media alliance would value the Formula One business between $8 billion and $9 billion, which has quickly grown from its reported $1.6 billion value in 2005 when CVC, a private equity group, took a controlling stake in the popular sports business.

What role Ecclestone plays at the company following the buy-out is unclear.

But Horner, who can be regarded as a close ally of Ecclestone, said: “There is obviously a lot of speculation going on”.

“We will all wait and see what the news is over the next couple of weeks regarding the ownership of Formula One, and if there is any change or redistribution”. I sincerely hope it is not Bernie’s last race and I don’t believe it will be.

Mr Ecclestone, 85, said his future with the business would remain in his hands.

Austrian Niki Lauda, the retired triple world champion who raced for Mr Ecclestone in the 1970s and is non-executive chairman of dominant Mercedes, said the Briton would be at the next race.

The American company has been in talks with CVC Capital Partners, which owns a controlling 35.5% stake in F1, and a deal could be concluded within the next few days.

Sky as well as Liberty Media’s sister company Liberty Global and Discovery Communications were also reported as interested buyers in the Formula One sale.

Mercedes team chief Toto Wolf said: “If there is an investor that wants to buy the shares it is good news for Formula One. I don’t know what happens in terms of management”, he added.

Formula One’s largest shareholders are private equity firm CVC Capital Partners with a 35.5 percent stake and USA fund manager Waddell Reed with a stake of 20.9 percent.

“That thing generates millions of live views and full racetracks like we had today, and one and a half billion in profits every year, so he has done an awesome job”.

About author