Qatar in talks to lease Silverstone F1 circuit
Doha, August 28, 2011
Qatar's sovereign wealth fund is in exclusive talks with the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) to lease the Silverstone Formula One circuit, The Independent newspaper reported on Sunday.
The BRDC, which owns the circuit, is in talks with the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) to lease the 850-acre Silverstone site for 150 years, in a deal expected to be worth up to GBP250 million ($405.7 million), the paper said.
The Independent added that QIA was selected from a shortlist drawn up by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The QIA and the BRDC could not be reached for comment.
Silverstone hosted the first Formula One championship race in 1950 but has been taken to task repeatedly in recent years by Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone, who famously likened it to a 'country fair masquerading as a world event'.
The paper quoted a source as saying: 'To do all the development, they have had to borrow a massive amount of money and, long-term, the club can't sustain that.'
Other high-profile investments made by the QIA over the past couple of years include the 1.5 billion pound acquisition of London department store Harrods.
Qatar also has stakes in companies including retailer J Sainsbury, banking group Barclays and German automaker Porsche through the QIA. – Reuters