Marussia to merge with Sauber or Williams (Update)

UPDATE Mercedes Exec Dir Toto Wolff has revealed that "talks have taken place about merging Marussia and Williams though he says they are 'getting nowhere' as it would lead to the closure of Marussia," according to Reid & Sylt for ESPN.

Wolff is at the center of the discussions as he "owns a 12.2% stake in Williams." The team "is floated" on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and has a market value of $244M, meaning that Wolff's stake is worth $29.8M. He has owned shares in Williams since '09, when he "became a director of the team." Earlier this year, "it came to light that Marussia had been in talks with Caterham about a merger, but it was thought that it had given up on the strategy." Recent rumors suggested that Marussia Owner Andrey Cheglakov "had been in discussion with Sauber and Williams about a merger and Wolff confirmed it."

He said, "One of the discussions we had was with Marussia. They discussed it with Sauber as well." Marussia finished '13 in 10th place, which is one spot higher than last year. However, it "has not scored a point since joining F1" in '10. In '12 it made a $100m net loss which widened by 27.4% on the previous year. It was driven by an 8.7% increase in costs to $120M while revenue only rose by 2.9% to $50m. ESPN

11/28/13 (GMM) F1 could be set to shed yet another team from the back of the grid ahead of the 2014 season.

Twelve teams contested last year's world championship, but struggling HRT succumbed at the end of the year.

Now, according to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, the sport could be reduced to just 10 teams and twenty cars ahead of the 2014 season.

Respected correspondent Michael Schmidt said backmarker Marussia could merge with the financially struggling but far more established midfielder Sauber .

"(Marussia team owner) Andrei Cheglakov is apparently fed up with digging so deep into his own pockets only to be at the back of the field," said Schmidt.

"But he wants to stay in formula one. First, he wanted to buy Toto Wolff's Williams shares," the German correspondent added.

"Bernie Ecclestone is said to have endorsed the deal, but Claire Williams rejected it because they want to remain independent.

"Now, the Russians apparently have Sauber in their sights," said Schmidt.

Meanwhile, RTL Nederland has reported that Marcel Boekhoorn, a Dutch businessman and billionaire, could be interested in buying into Force India.

Fascinatingly, Boekhoorn is Caterham driver Giedo van der Garde's father-in-law.

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