Russian billionaire eyes Williams buyout (4th Update)
|Will F2 driver Nikita Mazepin be the 2nd driver in F1 who's daddy bought him an F1 team?|
UPDATE (GMM) Formula 2 driver Nikita Mazepin says he is "ready" for Formula 1.
After the first two rounds, the 20-year-old is only 15th overall in the category just beneath F1.
But his father is Russian billionaire Dmitry Mazepin, who has been linked with buying both the former Force India team and, more recently, Williams.
Nikita is also set to undergo a series of tests in a 2017-spec Mercedes F1 car this year, although he would not confirm that.
"I have never confirmed that information, so unfortunately I cannot say anything else about it," Mazepin told Russia's Championat.
But even without those private tests, he says he is "ready" for F1.
"I am ready to go to Formula 1, but right now there are not enough results or a contract," he said.
Mazepin is also coy when asked about the reports that his father is looking into buying the struggling Williams team.
"All I can say is that I have a normal relationship with my father but I don't talk with him about Formula 1 teams," he said.
"That is the business side and I'm interested in the racing, even if of course I take my father's advice. But it's not my area of responsibility. My job is to do my job and be on the podium," Mazepin insisted.
04/26/19 This rumor is downgraded to ‘speculation’ today.
(GMM) Claire Williams has denied that the famous F1 team she leads is in negotiations to be sold.
We reported this week that Dmitry Mazepin, a Russian billionaire who runs the fertilizer company Uralkali, opened talks recently in Shanghai.
Uralkali, having last year tried to buy Force India, denied it.
And now Claire Williams, whose father Sir Frank Williams founded the once-great F1 team, has added her denial to the story.
"I haven't met Mr Mazepin to talk about that," she said in Baku.
"We had a brief conversation in the mid-part of last year, but subsequent to that there have been no conversations.
"I'd just like to be really categorical about it -- Williams is not for sale," Williams said. "I have no intention of putting Williams up for sale."
Claire said it is natural that amid Williams' current performance crisis, there will be "rumors".
"But when your team isn't doing well, selling at this juncture wouldn't be the right time to do so," she insisted. "But Williams has been in this sport for more than four decades and we've never wanted to sell."
On Friday, it was another fraught day for Williams. A loose manhole cover destroyed George Russell's chassis, and on the way back to the pits, the truck carrying the car struck a bridge.
"I'm sure we'll have a lot more stuff thrown our way, like we've had today, like we've had this year, like we had last year," said Claire.
"But you don't give up when times get tough. For me it's a test of your character that you continue and to prove to everybody that you can do it."
04/24/19 (GMM) The promoter of Russia's grand prix at Sochi thinks now is a good time for billionaire Dmitry Mazepin to take over Williams.
Mazepin's company Uralkali has denied rumors that the Russian, whose son is Formula 2 driver Nikita Mazepin, is "negotiating" to buy the struggling British team.
"I don't want to comment on rumors," Russian GP promoter Sergey Vorobyev is quoted by sport.pl.
"But I'm sure that now, during all the changes in F1, is the best moment to take over the team.
"F1 will remain one of the best marketing platforms in the coming years, and having a team can be very useful for any Russian company operating on international markets," he added.
Vorobyev said a Russian owning a team would also be good for the country's grand prix.
"Russia's grand prix has its place on the calendar. We now dream about a team from Russia and drivers from Russia who will fight for victories," he said.
04/19/19 Dmitry Mazepin, the primary shareholder in Russian chemical conglomerate Uralkali, has not held talks with representatives with a view to acquiring Williams, a company spokesperson told RaceFans.
“The information that appeared in the media is untrue,” the spokesperson said. “Uralkali did not hold any negotiations regarding the purchase of the Williams team.” But that does not mean Mazepin didn't hold talks with an eye of he himself buying Williams. Note the statement was "Uralkali did not hold any negotiations."
04/18/19 (GMM) A Russian billionaire could buy Williams.
The once-great British team is in a desperate performance crisis, but multiple authoritative outlets are now reporting that Dmitry Mazepin is interested in buying it.
Earlier, we reported that Mazepin's 19-year-old son Nikita, who races in Formula 2, will conduct a series of F1 tests in a two-year-old Mercedes car this year.
Last year, Mazepin snr's company Uralkali tried to take over Force India, but that team ultimately did a deal with another billionaire, Lawrence Stroll.
Now, Russia's biggest news agency Tass reports: "The main shareholder of the company Uralkali, Dmitry Mazepin, is negotiating the purchase of the formula one team Williams."
Reportedly, the first talks took place in Shanghai last weekend.
The same news was reported by Ria Novisti, the state-owned Russian news agency.
Williams, the only team yet to score a point in 2019 so far, has been contacted for comment.