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Rumor: Apple latest bidder for Formula 1 race series

According to rumors aired on Wednesday, Apple might be in the market to take ownership of embattled high-speed racing series Formula One as a means to increase automotive industry visibility ahead of "Apple Car."


Kimi Raikonnen pilots his Ferrari at Silverstone Circuit. | F1.com


In a post to his blog on Wednesday, noted F1 blogger Joe Saward said the latest rumors out of Formula 1 headquarters in Princes Gate, England, suggest a new round of due diligence is currently underway in preparation of a possible bid from Apple.

Saward was unable to nail down details, or indeed procure any concrete information beyond hearsay, though it is widely known that "F1 Supremo" and British businessman Bernie Ecclestone is looking for a buyer. Last year, a report from The Sun indicated CVC, a holding company that purchased a controlling interest in the 40-year-old sport in 2007, agreed to sell its remaining 35-percent share for 6 billion pounds (more than $8.5 billion at the time) to unnamed parties.

That deal apparently fell through, though Ecclestone and company are said to be keen on unloading their stake.

A bid anywhere near the 2015 figure would represent a huge shift in business strategy for Apple, a company known to purchase smaller firms and startups, not big-ticket items like a major racing establishment. As Saward notes, however, Apple would stand to gain valuable digital content rights for Apple TV .

More importantly, F1 buys access to the automotive racing world, particularly car makers and top-tier teams like Ferrari and Williams Martini Racing. Apple's rumored in-house electric car initiative, dubbed "Project Titan," would no doubt benefit a great deal from connections made at what many consider to be auto sports' top echelon.

Coincidentally, a successful bid also buys a seat at F1's governing body, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), which also oversees the up-and-coming, and more germane to the so-called "Apple Car," Formula E electric car series.

Neither Apple nor the Formula One Group responded to requests for comment.