LONDON – Energy drinks brand Red Bull has bought the British Jaguar Formula 1 racing team from Ford, which decided to pull out of the sport earlier this year.
Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz has a long history of F1 involvement, having previously owned a stake in Swiss-based Sauber team and attempted to buy the now defunct Arrows team.
Red Bull, best known for its "gives you wings" advertising slogan, was one of Jaguar's existing sponsors.
According to Mateschitz: "We're really looking forward to our first Formula 1 season. This step is a provisional summit of our 10-year involvement in motorsport."
Mateschitz sold off his stake in Sauber for £22.6m in 2002 and saw his bid to buy Arrows and relaunch it as "Red Bull All America" with US drivers come to nothing.
The deal will save 340 jobs at the Jaguar headquarters in Milton Keynes and ensures that there will still be 10 teams on the F1 starting grid when the season begins in spring 2005.
Richard Parry-Jones, Ford Group vice-president, said: "I'm reassured that we have sold our F1 businesses to new owners, who have long histories in the sport and want to take these great companies forward."
Mateschitz is ranked in the top 500 of Forbes.com's rich list with a net worth of $1.4bn.
There is no confirmation on how much the Red Bull owner has paid, but Ford was reported to be seeking a token £1 if new owners guaranteed to invest in excess of £200m into the team over the next three years.
It is believed that Austrian driver Christian Klien, who arrived on the back of his Red Bull sponsorship last season, is likely to keep his seat, along with Italian Formula 3000 newcomer Vitantonio Liuzzi, who is also in with a chance.
"We now have the possibility to accompany young talent throughout their whole career," Mateschitz said
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