After four seasons, the self proclaimed “World Cup of Motorsports” is hitting the brakes. It has been announced that assets of A1 GP will be sold under direction of asset sales and valuations company GoIndustry DoveBid. The London-based firm will work with the liquidators of A1 Holdings in an attempt to sell the series as a complete package to keep the series alive.
Founded by Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum of Dubai, the single make series had its inaugural season in 2005/2006 with a race calendar set between October and April to avoid competition with Formula 1. Maktoum ended his tenure as president and chairman of A1 GP in December 2006, in the midst of the second season, selling off his stake to South African buisnessman Tony Teixeira. News of the series’ financial problems and rumours that it will not make the grid this season was swirling, and came true when A1 GP did not turn up in Australia last October.
The sale includes more than 20 Ferrari designed and powered race cars (based on the Scuderia’s 2004 F1 car), 14 of the earlier Lola designed race cars and all support equipment, including a Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT and Ferrari 599 GTB, which were safety cars. Of course, the buyer would gain intellectual property rights to the A1 GP series logos and brands.
I think that A1 GP started with a promising idea by keeping the cars simple (led to close racing) and pitting country against country. After all, if people pack 80,000 capacity stadiums to cheer on their country’s football team, surely they’ll do the same for a national race team? But it never really worked out that way. I was at the Shanghai circuit for an A1 GP race and the huge grandstand wasn’t full, even on raceday, and China has a 1.3 billion population! Now, let’s see if A1 GP can find its saviour.