The new head of General Motors Europe recently revealed one of the groups that are considering a bid for Saab. It turns out that Formula One Supremo Bernie Ecclestone is part of a bidding group that includes Luxembourg-based venture capital group Genii Capital (also the majority owner of Renault F1). Of course, while Bernie is making big waves off track, he’s still making news in Formula One.
GM Europe head, Nick Reilly, said that it would cost between €50 and €100 million to close down Saab. As a result, it would be in GM’s best interest to sell Saab to another group. Apparently, the selling price isn’t an issue for GM. They just want someone that will be able to keep Saab alive for the foreseeable future. They are looking for a group that has the finances available to keep it running with a fairly stable infrastructure.
If Bernie was to successfully buy Saab, it would be the first car manufacturer that he would own. However, he does have experience as a F1 manufacturer. In 1971, Ecclestone bought the Brabham team. Under Bernie’s guidance, Brabham won two World Drivers’ Championships and 21 wins before selling the team in 1988.
Interestingly, Bernie and his partners at Genii are not the only Formula One related group interested in Saab. Spyker, which is a former owner of Force India, is also performing due diligence work on a potential purchase of Saab.
Meanwhile, in the realm of Formula One, Bernie is making his idea of “gold medals” deciding the World Drivers’ Championship seem palatable. Bernie’s latest idea to liven up the show in F1 is to introduce a shortcut on the track that drivers can use up to five times a race. Bernie’s thinking was that drivers aren’t able to get by a slower car could use the shortcut to move ahead of the pack. That’s the sort of thinking that belongs in a video game, not the premier motorsports series in the world. Once again, Bernie shows that at 79, he’s completely lost touch with reality.