A1 Grand Prix still racing to find buyers

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The Independent Online

The A1 Grand Prix, which was set up as a rival to Formula One and is majority own by RAB Capital, is still looking for a buyer after collapsing just days before the start of its 2009/10 season.

The competition was set in 2004 backed by Sheikh Maktoum of Dubai, but after hitting financial difficulties, the chequered flag fell for the last time after the final race of the fourth season in 2009.

A1 Holdings, the company that owns the intellectual rights to A1 Grand Prix has collapsed into liquidation, which is being overseen by Bridge Business Recovery. A1 Grand Prix Operations, which owns the cars and spare parts, went into administration after it failed to pay suppliers, a process that is being handled by Griffins.

Tim Bramston, a partner with Griffins, and Tony Murphy, a partner at Bridge Business Recovery, have united the two sides of the business to encourage bidders to keep the sport alive. They have appointed GoIndustry DoveBid to sell it off as a whole or in part via a private treaty sale. Yet they had hoped to secure a bidder by the end of March.

The assets include 20 racing cars with Ferrari engines, 14 earlier model Lola cars, safety cars as well as miscellaneous support equipment. They have been laid out for inspection in Surrey and have held discussions with interested parties. The intellectual property rights include all the trademarks associated with A1, its website - which is currently offline - and goodwill.

The competition was set up for single seater racing with identical cars on a national basis, rather than racing on behalf of a team like in F1.

Over 20 teams bought into the series including Great Britain, the US, India and China.

After Sheikh Maktoum resigned as chairman and chief executive of the series in 2006, RAB Capital, the UK listed hedge fund, reportedly bought a significant amount of his 80 per cent stake. RAB still has a significant investment in A1, but last year wrote its value down to zero.