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Aston Martin: New F1 investment doesn’t signal Lawrence Stroll exit

Aston Martin Formula 1 team managing director Jeff Slack says that new outside investment announced last week doesn’t signal the start of an eventual exit by main shareholder Lawrence Stroll.

Lawrence Stroll, Owner, Aston Martin F1 Team

Alexander Trienitz / Motorsport Images

The Silverstone outfit has sold a stake to private equity company Arctos, which has interests in multiple MLB, NBA, NHL and MLS franchises, as well as European football teams, including Liverpool FC.

Inevitably, the move has prompted suggestions that Stroll might be planning to wind down his involvement in the team, and that there will be further sales of shares.

However, the Arctos deal is seen as a strategic one, with the new partners bringing fresh knowledge and contacts, much like Alpine’s similar recent arrangement with US investors.

"Lawrence is all in, he's not going anywhere,” Slack told Motorsport.com. “It's not just the team, but he has this thing called Aston Martin Lagonda that's a pretty important part of his life too.

“So the team is the marketing platform for Aston Martin Lagonda. And of course, Lawrence is a very wealthy guy, it's not an issue of capital.

“The other thing about these guys, if you dive in a bit, they're never control guys, they never own and operate anything, only minority stakes. They are never going to be a control operator, they're never going to be the owner of this team.

“So that shows you if Lawrence was trying to sell to somebody who ultimately could take control, these will be the last guys you would sell to."

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR23, Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR23, Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23

Slack stressed that that Arctos is the ideal partner for the team.

"We met them two years ago,” he said. “They're really best in class. They've specialised in long-term minority stakes and top franchises. There are not many people that are doing that, although you’re getting a lot more money coming into sports, institutional capital. These guys have been the leaders in doing that.

“A lot of people have approached us and Lawrence to invest in the team. And we're in a very unique situation, we have one owner that controls the whole team, and can decide on lunch if it's the right deal. It's not a complicated process.

“And we didn't go through a really formal process, it was just these guys were clearly the right guys, mainly from a strategic standpoint.

“Obviously, there's investment, but what they bring to the party is working with some of the best franchises in the world.”

Expanding on what the team might gain from the deal, Slack said: "I think you have to be open-minded. Nobody does things perfectly or the best way. And you have to look outside of the bubble to say, how can we as a business do things better?

“It's not just on the commercial marketing side, it may be athlete preparation, they've invested in organisations that might be better at that.

"There's a whole gamut of things that we can learn from. And there might be things that those organisations learn from us, because we're a global business, whereas a lot of the franchises will be more local.”

Slack said the interest in teams from US investors is a positive sign for F1 as a whole, with values continuing to rise.

"There's been private equity transactions done already, several,” he noted. “This is the next step in that, again, good for our whole sport, it values the sport it says, 'hey, this is like buying an NBA team or an NFL team'. 

"This is what you're getting when you get into F1. So I think that totally good for the business.

“The second is specific to our team. We've talked about the new campus, new wind tunnel, Honda engines, doubling the workforce.

“This is the next evolution, and this also gives us the right financial partner to do what we need, and invest how we need. Not that Lawrence couldn't do it, but now he has a true partner who does this for a living."

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