Qadbak’s BMW F1 deal to fail?


According to Swiss paper Sonntagszeitung, the Qadbak purchase of the former BMW F1 team is possibly unraveling. The article in its original language:

London/Hinwil ZH Bis Ende November will der Internationale Automobilsportverband FIA die Startliste der Formel-1-Saison 2010 veröffentlichen – und noch immer wartet Sauber auf eine Startlizenz. Vergeblich, denn der Verkauf von BMW-Sauber an die Gesellschaft Qadbak wird platzen: Die reichen Investoren aus dem Nahen Osten gibt es gar nicht. Hinter Qadbak steht nur Finanzjongleur Russell King, ein rechtskräftig verurteilter Betrüger, der noch heute im Visier der Strafjustiz auf Jersey steht. King hat Firmen wie BMW und die Bank Rothschild zum Narren gehalten. Doch King verfügt nicht über die Mittel, um den Rennstall zu übernehmen.

Es gibt keine Bankgarantie dafür, dass der Kaufpreis von Qadbak an BMW bezahlt wird. Garantin ist Bahrain Capital International. Auch diese Firma ist eine leere Hülle. Und auch hinter ihr steht Russell King. Er hat sich sozusagen selbst eine Garantie ausgestellt. Das zeigen Recherchen der SonntagsZeitung.

Kings Idee: Wenn Qadbak/Sauber einen Startplatz für die nächste Saison erhält, fliessen sofort Millionen – Startgelder, Gelder aus Fernsehrechten, Reise- und Transportvergünstigungen. Ob der Automobilverband dem Team die Lizenz gibt, ist aber völlig offen. Derweil schweigen Peter Sauber, BMW und auch die Bank Rothschild weiter.

The very poor translation to English:

London/Hinwil ZH to at the end of November wants the international automobile haven federation FIA the starting list of the Formel-1-Saison 2010 to publish – and still clean waits for a starting license. In vain, because the sale of BMW-cleanly to the society Qadbak will burst: The Near East there are not the rich investors from at all. Behind Qadbak stands only financial juggler Russell King, a validly condemned cheat, who is located this very day in the visor of the penal jurisdiction on jersey. King held companies such as BMW and the bank Rothschild to the fool. But King does not have the means, in order to take over the running universe. There is no bank guarantee for the fact that the purchase price is paid by Qadbak at BMW. Garantin is Bahrain Capital international. Also this company is an empty covering. And also behind it Russell King stands. It issued itself as it were a warranty. Searches of the Sunday newspaper show that. Kings idea: If Qadbak/clean receives a starting point for the next season, immediately millions flow – starting funds, funds from coverage right, travel and transportation privileges. Whether the automobile federation gives the license to the team, is however completely open. Meanwhile Peter Sauber, BMW and also the bank Rothschild continues to be silent.

Now, perhaps I will get Mark Hallam on the case during this evenings podcast for an accurate translation but from what I can gather from this poor translation is this:

It appears that the investors were banking on the BMW F1 share of revenue from the commercial rights holder and I am unclear as to whether Ecclestone is paying this to the team or not as they announced their withdrawal from the series. I would assume it is money due them but perhaps there is contractual obligations that suggest they only get the money if they are continuing in the sport.

It also seems to be a story leveled at Mr. Russell King, a dodgy investor behind the group who has served jail time, and is insinuating that the deal may fall through as the FIA is stalling on the announcement that Qadbak will indeed inherit Toyota’s slot on the grid as the Japanese team is leaving the sport.

The story also suggests that this is not, in fact, a consortium of Middle East money as was previously stated in media outlets. Laying the brunt of the deal making at King’s feet and the possible delay due to the FIA’s reluctance to allow a grid position to a suspect character and even more suspect revenue streams and sources with no promise of continuing support; there are some serious concerns being raised.

Is this writ? Well, if you trust the Swiss paper then perhaps but as far as I can see there are no quotes or sources listed so it could be purely an opinion piece. I am not calling in to question Sonntagszeitung’s trustworthiness or journalistic integrity but a lack of sources, quotes or links does lend itself to more of a opinion piece than hard-line news. I was intrigued by the piece because I am perplexed of what the hold up on the grid position is from the FIA’s standpoint.

After tweeting the question, I received a few good points. Namely that the FIA is probably looking at legal ramifications toward Toyota for bowing out after signing the Concorde Agreement. That could well be the case but also if the FIA/CVC question the veracity of Qadbak’s investors, this too could be a real source of delay and concern. Either way, it is not looking good for them at the moment.

While USF1 remains the butt of all jokes around the world regarding their dodgy PR campaigns, announcements and questionable revenue sources; perhaps we should be focusing on Qadbak instead as they have the lives of the entire Hinwill staff in their hands at this point. Bad enough to lose all the employees at the Toyota F1 operation in Cologne but even worse to compound that situation with the employees at Hinwill.

I would be remiss in not mentioning the real possibility of the grid position being given to Lola, N. Technology or another potential privateer. While the Qadbak team would qualify for a privateer label and certainly continue the desire of former FIA president Max Mosley and commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone’s mission to eliminate the power of the manufacturers via a slew of privateers; they also may recall the the former BMW team siding with FOTA and know that they will still be under the same management even with the Qabak name.

All of this is certainly supposition on my part based on a simple story but it does raise a good question…what is the hold up? Where is the FIA era of “transparency”?

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