$200 million entry charge a blow for potential new F1 team Panthera · RaceFans

by Sep 17, 20200 comments

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The $200 million fee new F1 teams will have to pay from next season is “obviously not good” for potential new entrant Panthera, one of the men behind the project has admitted.

However Benjamin Durand, the co-founder of the team which originally planned to enter F1 in 2021, also believes the charge is “a good thing” for the sport.

New entrants will be required to pay the ‘Anti-Dilution Payment’, the proceeds of which will be shared between the existing 10 teams. RaceFans first revealed details of the payment last December. It is contained in the new Concorde Agreement which all current teams signed up to last month.

“We were kind of expecting it,” Durand told RaceFans in an exclusive interview. “It’s for us something that was in discussion for quite some time.”

Durand (pictured right with Panthera co-founder Michael Orts) estimated the cost of entering a new team without the payment at between 80 and 120 million dollars, depending on the level of support available from a manufacturer.

“Obviously it’s not good news, but it’s not news per se, we were kind of expecting it,” he said. “It makes those things obviously more difficult. It’s easier to find 100 million than to find 300.”

The existence of the feed will encourage potential new entrants to buy an existing team if one is available, said Durand.

“All the options are on the table. But obviously another team will be valued less than the 200 million. Williams, from what I heard, has just been bought for less than 200 million, and they have all the facilities, all the things like that.

“What teams are for sale right now I don’t know. The worry is that this will make the owners of the team think they can raise tremendously the value of their teams artificially where they don’t have this kind of value.”

Although the introduction of the anti-dilution payment is an obstacle to Panthera’s hopes of entering the sport, Durand says the fee is justified.

“It’s clearly done to protect the existing teams, which we understand, and it’s a good thing. When we talk to potential backers it shows that the series takes good care of the teams once they are inside, which is not always the case in some other series. So it’s a good thing.”

Now the existence of the payment has been confirmed, Durand said he also needs to understand what financial benefits might be available to new teams, such as a share of F1’s prize money.

“What we need also to understand is what is the contract part of this,” he said. “You have 200 million but it’s not just to pay 200 million – [do] they give you also access to the prize money in year one, what level, we need to understand all those kind of things.

“It’s not just ‘there are 200 million, that’s it’, you have also some advantage out of the Concorde Agreement. So we need to understand what are those advantages and then to value with our backers if it’s worth or not going forward with new teams or acquiring a team. If one team is for [sale], although there is not many teams on the market.”

Panthera had already deferred its planned entry into F1 from 2021 to 2022 due to the postponement of F1’s new technical regulations.

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