Billionaire Calvin Lo is seriously considering the possibility of creating a brand new Formula 1 team for a possible arrival on the grid in 2026.
While the Andretti clan has been knocking on F1’s door for several months to form an eleventh team on the grid, another candidate appears to be on the horizon that should be taken very seriously.
His name may not ring a bell, but Calvin Lo is one of the richest people in Hong Kong. The businessman is said to have amassed a personal fortune estimated at US$1.7 billion according to Forbes magazine.
Calvin Lo is one of the most successful businessmen on the planet and also a keen Formula 1 fan. He recently revealed that he was exploring the possibility of starting a new team in F1, although he made it clear that his personal involvement would only be financial and that he had no desire to become a full-time team owner:
“We are still exploring how involved I could be in F1. I’m not smart enough to run a team. Whatever involvement I have will be financial,” the billionaire explained in a lengthy interview with the Daily Star.
“Over the last few years, I’ve been approached by many players in the F1 world, from teams to very ambitious potential team owners or investors.”
While no concrete plans have been put on the table yet, Calvin Lo is very serious about his approach and has even visited several Formula 1 Grands Prix in 2022, including Singapore, to observe and better understand how teams operate in this ultra-competitive environment.
“We looked at how a current team operates, and that’s how the idea of creating a new team was born,” he says.
“There is a lot of opportunity at the moment, I think we are entering a new era of a younger audience, with a new fan base. Accessibility seems easier than it used to be.”
One of the biggest hurdles Calvin Lo could face, however, would be the reluctance of the other teams on the grid who might not look favourably on the arrival of an additional competitor as they would have to cut back on their year-end revenues once again. However, Lo believes that the arrival of an Asian team would undoubtedly attract a new audience to F1, and therefore new market share.
“Whoever enters [F1] has to make sure that the [financial] pie gets even bigger. I understand the reluctance of the current teams, because if everything comes out of the same pot, what’s the point?”
“But if we could sort of widen that cake, everyone could benefit. The whole grid could benefit. That’s where the ‘how’ comes in. How can my team and I tell the current teams that our involvement in whatever capacity will increase that audience, that fan base?”
“I think there’s an opportunity for someone who is not in the racing world to come in, to bring new ideas, new perspectives. I think it’s exciting if someone from outside comes in.”
“The financial part is a huge commitment, but assuming it gets done, we might be pleasantly surprised at how everyone could benefit.”
An Asian influence
Calvin Lo insists that he does not necessarily want to create a 100% Asian F1 team, but rather pave the way for the hiring of skilled personnel and drivers from Asia.
“I don’t think there is a need for an Asian team per se, but perhaps an Asian influence in the sense of drivers, designers or strategists. Any new team or player in the sport will bring new ideas, new perspectives. I am from Asia and there are only a few races there. We will then try to make the cake bigger.”
“This new popularity [of F1] is not only in the US, in Asia too, everyone is talking about it. I went to the Singapore Grand Prix  and the excitement of all the spectators was incredible.”
Not before 2026
When asked specifically when he would like to see a new team enter Formula One, the billionaire knows that realistically it would have to wait until the next era in 2026 when new engines and rules are introduced to Formula One.
“It’s funny because it’s the fastest sport in the world, but the logistics are quite slow. We would be very lucky to be involved in any capacity. With an actual team, it would be faster. But realistically, to put a car on the grid [with a new team], it would be 2026. That’s a short period of time, a very tight schedule.”
While there is nothing concrete in the near future at the moment, Lo did confirm that links with the Williams team have been established in recent months…
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