Could a purchase of shares see STR becoming a Mercedes junior team? Let’s connect the dots…
Word on the street is that Abu Dhabi investment firm Aabar Investments – a minority shareholder in the Daimler Group and investor in the Mercedes GP team – has bought a stake in the Toro Rosso squad.
The team hasn’t confirmed anything yet, but the general consensus among sources is that the deal has been signed. So what does this mean for the team? Let’s us explain…
We spotted stickers of Swiss private bank Falcon Private Bank on the front wings of the team’s STR6 challenger at last weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, and we exclusively predicted that this company had come on board as a team sponsor (an announcement that the team took a further two days to make).
Falcon Private Bank is actually owned by Aabar, which has been an investor in the Mercedes GP team for the last 18 months. Aabar is itself controlled by the Abu Dhabi government, which itself has investment business dealings in the oil world.
The inter-relationships are too complex to explain here, but one fact is that it recently bought Spain’s CEPSA oil company from France’s Total group for a cool $5 billion.
And connecting the dots, it might not be unrealistic to expect to see CEPSA’s logos on the Toro Rosso cars in the not-too-distant future – a nice tie-in to the team’s Spanish driver Jaime Alguersuari, and certainly a worthwhile way of getting CEPSA and its nearly-2,000 service stations some valuable exposure.
Other logos could also appear on the STR6 too. Aabar is also a shareholder in a host of other oil and investment companies from around the world who might want to use F1 as a platform to market their brands.
Aabar has also launched a €750 million bond issue, which are exchangeable for share in Daimler AG. The long-term implications of Aabar’s alleged investment in Toro Rosso are many, but it could include such things as a Mercedes engine deal for Toro Rosso, or perhaps serving as a junior team for the Silver Arrows in the future.