Business

Formula 1: US-Qatari investors 'to bid for sport'

Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton is one of F1's biggest draws and won the United States Grand Prix in 2007, 2012 and 2014

The Miami Dolphins American football team owner Stephen Ross is working with investors from Qatar to buy a stake in Formula 1 racing, the BBC understands.

Mr Ross's RSE Ventures, backed by Qatar Sports Investments, plan a bid for CVC Capital Partners' 35.5% controlling stake in the holding company that owns F1.

The deal could be worth up to $8bn, and help build F1's presence in the US.

But negotiations are at an early stage, BBC sports editor Dan Roan says.

And the group is just one of a number of potential bidders, he adds.

No formal bid has been made yet and there is no guarantee that CVC would sell.

The move comes as Formula One racing grapples with falling viewing figures, controversial race rules and soaring costs, all of which have led to some teams struggling for sponsorship.

RSE was founded by property billionaire Stephen Ross, whose company has been in talks with ex-England footballer David Beckham about bringing a Major League Soccer team to Miami.

F1 currently only has one race in the United States on its calendar, in Texas.

But the sport may have a better chance of building a stronger American presence with the backing of a businessman already established in the US sports industry.

CVC, whose interests in F1 are looked after by Bernie Ecclestone, has been F1's biggest shareholder for about a decade, although in the last few years it has reduced its stake.

In 2012, CVC came close to floating the sport's holding company on the Singapore stock market.

The firm has also held talks with US-based Liberty Media and Discovery Communications about a sale.

Qatar Sports Investments, which owns the Paris St-Germain football club, was not available for comment.