After months of rumours, it was finally announced last night that Midland Formula One team has been sold to the Dutch car manufacturer Spyker, headed by Victor Muller and Michiel Mol (of Lost Boys fame). And estimated $106.6 million will be transferred and shares owned by Schnaider’s Midland group will be now owned by Spyker. The teams name will be changed to Spyker MF1.
The sale of the team also brings the return of Mike Gascoyne to the cutting edge of Formula One. Mike is currently on gardening leave from Toyota after the two parties fell out earlier in the year. Colin Kolles will remain as the team prinicpal, and Alex Shnaider had this to say in Monza:
It is never easy to relinquish something into which one has devoted so much energy and passion.
I believe the new owners will be well placed to exploit the commercial and nationalistic aspects of a Dutch identity, and this is something that can only benefit the team.
Shnaider bought the Jordan team just prior to the 2005 season, and since then it has improved a little. Performance this year has shown signs of promise, and their young chargers – Monteiro and Albers – are putting in some good (albeit brief) laps that mark them out as drivers for the future. But the ever-relenting development of the teams with major backing make it hard for the lesser squads to keep. Shnaider hopes the Dutch investors will bring more money to the team than he could have hoped for aiming instead for the Russian market.
Whilst it is easy to criticise from the comfort of a sofa, I must say that I disagree with the ‘energy and passion’ quote above. From my point of view, Shnaider had very little passion in the team compared to say Frank Williams, or Paul Stoddart. But Michiel Mol has been involved in Formula One before, backing Dutch drivers and sponsoring Tom Walkinshaws Arrows outfit in the late 90’s.
I have my fingers crossed for the future, simply because it would be ashame to lose Eddie’s old team from the grid.