A1GP boss denies financial woes

Australian A1 Grand Prix boss Alan Jones has slammed 'malicious' rumors the A1 Grand Prix is in a shaky financial state.

Mr. Jones, who heads A1 Team Australia, hit back at media reports which claimed the open-wheel event had hit 'another stumbling block'.

"It upsets me when I read these false headlines," said Mr. Jones.

"They say we've stalled again but I would dispute that and ask when have we ever 'stalled'."

Mr. Jones said the reports had falsely identified British firm RAB Capital as the owner of A1GP and suggested the company's losses in the global financial crisis would harm the future of the fledgling sport.

The British investment management company reportedly paid $200 million in December last year to buy an 80 per cent stake in the A1GP racing series from Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al-Maktoum of Dubai's royal family.

But Mr. Jones said A1GP Holdings had changed hands again in September when A1 co-founder and chairman Tony Teixeira bought out RAB Capital for an undisclosed sum.

"It is common knowledge that Mr. Teixeira bought RAB Capital out from A1GP three months ago," he said.

"I believe this misinformation has come out because there are certainly people who are not happy about losing Indy and there are others that are just trying to put a spoke in wheel of A1GP.

"It's just malicious."

Mr. Jones said he believed the State Government had seen assurances from the A1 group several weeks ago and were satisfied.

"On top of that, we are a growing race — we have had extra teams come on board and there are countries ready and willing to pay franchise fees of over $3 million to have this race come to them," he said.

A1GP has noted Canada, the US, the Philippines and Brazil have indicated strong interest in holding races.

Mr. Jones confirmed up to $300 million had been spent setting up the sport but he said the high costs were expected.

"You can't set something like this by spending small. This is an expensive sport — the cost of the car engines alone is in the millions," he said. "I think what we've been able to do for this price in just four years has been remarkable."

Mr. Jones said he had full confidence in the sport and Gold Coasters should too.

"This sport is not slowing down — it is gaining interest every day and Gold Coasters are going to be pleasantly surprised next year," he said.

"Of course I'm confident in the sport. Put it this way, I'm jetting off to Malaysia, New Zealand and then South Africa for the next races and I'm predicting we're going to have well over 100,000 people attending in South Africa."

The State Government is expected to sign a five-year deal with A1 Grand Prix this week after announcing an in-principle agreement with the company.

The announcement of a October 22-25 event next year came after the Indy Racing League confirmed they were pulling out of the annual Gold Coast event. Goldcoast.com

[Editor's Note: Let's see, A1GP has the expense of moving their race series all over the world yet generates very little revenue from ticket sales and TV. So where does all the money come from to cover these huge costs? Either the series is losing huge sums of money, said to be $200M per year, or Tony Teixeira’s personal bank account is taking a real beating.]

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