For perfect proof of just how badly served Formula 1 was by the Max Mosley-era FIA, look no further than the sale of 21 per cent of its shareholding earlier this week by the sport's commercial rights holder for a whopping $1.6billion (£1.1billion), bestowing upon the commercial rights of the sport a notional value of $9.1billion (£6billion) after factoring in the outstanding loan value of approximately £900million.
To place that into perspective, consider that around 15 years ago, at the height of the Mosley administration, the FIA and thus the de facto owner of F1 - whether current majority lease-holder of said commercial property, CVC Capital Partners, likes it or not - began a process that resulted in the 113-year rights to the sport being sold to an entity controlled by F1 tsar Bernie Ecclestone for just $380million (£250million), including a short-lived (13-year) annual levy paid to the FIA to administer the series.
In 1997, Max Mosley began the process of selling F1's commercial rights to CVC © LAT
The latest transaction is a precursor to F1's Initial Purchase Offer on Singapore's stock exchange - saliently a market that has a more relaxed approach to disclosure than, say, New York, Frankfurt or London - with listing expected within the next six to eight weeks, assuming the money markets don't collapse before then off the back of the Eurozone crisis.
Since 1997, when the initial deal came into effect, octogenarian Ecclestone has three times seen the rights sold on, each time retaining effective control over the business despite heading well north in the age stakes. More to the point, though, is that the perceived value of the rights has multiplied by a factor of no less than 25 over the period.
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South African-born Dieter trained as industrial engineer before holding down a variety of senior motor industry marketing and manufacturing positions. At the age of 40 he decided to follow his passion, and became the first and only South African journalist to cover Formula 1 regularly. Dieter joined AtlasF1 at the beginning of 2004 – a year prior to its merger with Autosport – and his regular column offers an intriguing analysis of F1’s politicking and commercial chicanery. Although now also proudly Belgian, he gives his domicile as "Wherever F1 duplicity lurks".@RacingLines More features by Dieter Rencken