The Midland Group of Companies has announced the sale of 100% of its shares in Midland F1 Limited to Spyker Cars NV ("Spyker").
Prior to the sale, Midland F1 Limited headed all Midland Group motorsport activities, including ownership and operation of the Midland F1 Racing team ("MF1 Racing"), which competes in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship.
"The decision to sell the team has been one of the most difficult I have ever faced," stated Midland Group Chairman Alex Shnaider. "It is never easy to relinquish something into which one has devoted so much energy and passion. However, as much as I had hoped to witness the continuing growth of the team under our ownership, I truly believe this transaction is in the best interests of everyone involved - Midland Group, Spyker, and the team.
"I am proud to be leaving the team in a much better state than it was when we acquired it 20 months ago. Not only is it more financially stable, it is also more competitive at the track, and getting stronger all the time. The creation of the 2007 car is well underway, as are major upgrades to the wind tunnel facility. Investment into the team's technical development has continued unabated throughout the season.
"At the moment, Formula 1 is a much more mature and understood sport in Holland than it is in Russia. I believe the new owners will be well placed to exploit the commercial and nationalistic aspects of a Dutch identity, and this is something that can only benefit the team.
"My partner, Eduard Shifrin, left the decision entirely up to me, since he knows how important it is for me to see the team not only survive, but succeed. With this in mind, the new owners have demonstrated their ambitious plans to take the team forward to the next phase of its rebuilding programme.
"Spyker, headed by Victor Muller and Michiel Mol, consists of a strong group of investors with the resources, planning and capacity to further develop the team. I am confident that under their leadership, the future of the team rests in good hands, and I would not have agreed to this sale under any other circumstances.
"Midland Group and I have been committed to the team's success from the moment we decided to take it on. We have always been, and will continue to be, Formula 1 fans, and we wish the sport, the team and its new owners the greatest success in the future."
In October 2004, Midland Group`s involvement in Formula One began when Mr. Shnaider confirmed his plans to lodge an entry for the 2006 season.
Although initially committed to the idea of creating a completely new team for the 2006 season, Midland instead signed an opportunistic deal to buy the Jordan Grand Prix team shortly prior to the 2005 Formula 1 season. As a result, the team competed as Jordan Grand Prix in 2005, and re-branded itself as MF1 Racing for 2006.
"The time-line was tight, but by buying Jordan, we benefited from having a ready-made team: the people, the facilities, the know-how - all the elements we were previously looking to piece together from scratch," recalls Mr. Shnaider. "Entering the sport a year ahead of schedule was easier to execute with an established team, although it still presented us with a steep learning curve in 2005. But that's OK; we learned a lot during the transition."
At the time of its acquisition by Midland, there were few tangible assets in place to ensure the participation of the Jordan team in the 2005 F1 World Championship, which commenced in March 2005 in Melbourne - barely two months after the purchase was completed.
Therefore, the first goal was to ensure that Jordan would participate in Melbourne with three cars, complying with the 2005 FIA regulations. Within a very short timeframe, MF1 Racing managed to fulfill the provisions of Jordan's prior agreement with Toyota, thus enabling receipt of engines. The team also undertook the task of modifying the chassis to accommodate the Toyota V10 in place of the previous Cosworth powerplant; designing a new gearbox to mate with the new engine; acquiring sponsorships and signing new drivers. In less than two months, the first goal - participating with three cars in accordance with the 2005 FIA regulations - had been achieved.
The next goal was to establish the reliability of the race cars while improving the team's cost efficiency. Existing supplier relationships were examined and replaced where appropriate and where a satisfactory cost/quality correlation would be ensured. In addition, more work was brought in-house at MF1 Racing to enhance flexibility and cost efficiency. As can be evidenced by both cars' combined race finish ratio of 84% in 2005 and progress to date in 2006, the team's mechanical reliability and consistency of performance has been successfully established.
Phase 3 was the evolution of the 2005 car, the EJ15, and increasing its competitiveness. The EJ15B aerodynamic package, which debuted at the 2005 French Grand Prix, introduced a number of performance gains. More importantly, these concepts set the stage for the development and construction of the 2006 car, the M16, and allowed the team to significantly reduce the gap to its rivals. The team is now, on average, some 2 seconds per lap closer to the front of the grid than it was a year ago.
Off the track, the team's facilities and equipment have been completely refurbished. The paddock hospitality centre has been redesigned and three state-of-the-art technical trailers have replaced the aging fleet of transporters. Investment has also been made in improving the team's factory and wind tunnel facilities, which are in the process of being upgraded in scale from 40% to 50%.
"Our plans for the team were right on target. 2005 was tough, as expected, but we relished the challenge and got on with the job," says Mr. Shnaider. "In 2006, our plans had begun to yield improved results. The team is now a whisker away from the middle of the pack - and getting closer at every race - and its reliability is better than that of a few teams higher up the grid. At the factory, everything has been reorganized and the team is poised to break through to the next level. Spyker recognizes that, and we have recognized in Spyker the ability to attract sponsorship from a robust and enthusiastic F1 market. We feel that these sponsor dollars, with an owner's investment similar to ours, will bring the results quicker than it would have under our plan."
"I have experienced the highs and lows of being a team owner, and for the most part, I've enjoyed it immensely. But I do have a number of other business interests apart from F1, which are much more significant in monetary terms, even if they are not as high in profile. I generally found time to attend only 5 or 6 race weekends in each of 2005 and 2006, and hopefully I will be able to keep it at that level. Michiel Mol has invited me to come and visit the team whenever I like, and I am looking forward to watching the action and relaxing with my guests in the paddock. "
"I would further like to thank everyone who helped us achieve so much in this challenging environment in such a short time: our drivers, mechanics, engineers, designers, factory staff and team management, as well as our suppliers and sponsors. They have all done a wonderful job, and their future in this sport is deservedly bright."
About MF1 Racing
Over the course of its 15-year history in Formula One, Jordan Grand Prix, founded by Eddie Jordan in 1991, achieved four wins, the most memorable being the perfect 1-2 result at Spa-Francorchamps earned by Damon Hill and Ralf Schumacher in 1998. A further 19 podiums, the last one climbed by Tiago Monteiro at the 2005 US Grand Prix, and six front row qualifying positions all contribute to the team`s tradition of success in F1. Jordan was acquired in January 2005 by Midland Group, a privately-owned trading and investment- holding organisation co-founded by Russian-born Canadian businessman Alex Shnaider. Midland had initially planned to build its own team from the ground up and launch it for the 2006 season, but this strategy was accelerated by the opportunity to purchase the Jordan team and its infrastructure. As a result, 2005 represented a final transition season for Jordan Grand Prix before it was renamed Midland F1 Racing Limited. The company announced the official registration of its Formula One team - MF1 Racing - into the 2006 FIA Formula One World Championship on November 15th, 2005.
In 1898 two brothers, Jacobus and Hendrik-Jan Spijker, coachbuilders in Amsterdam, built their
first Benz-engined motorcar with which they won immediate acclaim for the craftsmanship of their bodywork. In the same year Spijker built the famous golden state coach, still in use today, to commemorate the forthcoming coronation of the Dutch queen, Wilhelmina. This was the turning point in their business career: from that moment on the Spijker brothers committed their company fully to the production of motorcars. The business name was changed to Spyker, for easier recognition in foreign markets.
In 1903 Spyker introduced the extremely advanced 60/80 HP. It was the first car with a six-cylinder engine as well as permanent four-wheel drive and four-wheel brakes. In the same period Spyker introduced its patented 'dust shield chassis,' a chassis fitted with a streamlined under tray that prevented the car from making dust on unpaved roads.
Spyker's image was further enhanced when in 1907 a privately entered standard model Spyker 14/18HP Tourer became legendary after successfully competing in the famous gruelling Peking to Paris raid, arriving in second place. It was innovations as these that characterized the Spyker cars that quickly became famous for their quality and the ruggedness of their engineering. The Spyker models, with their characteristic circular radiators were especially successful in the Dutch East Indies and in Britain, where Spyker became known as 'the Rolls Royce of the continent'.
In the period preceding World War 1, a worldwide slump in the luxury car market meant that Spyker had to diversify its production and merged with the Dutch Aircraft Factory N.V. the company started developing and building fighter aircraft.
During the war, Spyker built around 100 fighter aircraft and 200 aircraft engines.
In 1914 the company introduced the slogan still being used today: 'Nulla tenaci invia est via:
For the tenacious no road is impassable'. Along with the slogan came a new logo, featuring a spoke wheel with a horizontal propeller across.
After the war Spyker resumed car production. True to its motto, Spyker continued building record-breaking cars. Most famous of these is the Spyker C4. It had a special engine, built by the famous German engineer Wilhelm Maybach. It had a double ignition system with Bosch high-tension magneto and battery-coil ignition with two spark plugs per cylinder.
The Spyker C4 was a powerful, dependable and luxurious car. In 1921, a standard C4 (chassis number C41, engine number 3201) established a new endurance record, driving continuously for
36 days and covering a distance of 30,000 kilometres. This car was called the "Tenax". Later on it
was bought by the Dutch nobleman Hugo Baron van Pallandt who, with this car, won the first prize
in the hill climb of the Mont de la Turbie near Monte Carlo in March 1922. The Spyker C12 LaTurbie owes its name to this sporting success. Also in 1922, the famous British driver Selwyn Edge broke the Brookland's Double-Twelve speed record, clocking an average speed of 119 km/h.
In 1925, the Spyker Company ceased trading, but its name has never been forgotten. Spyker became an icon, a brand name that stands for technologically advanced, exotic and dependable cars. That heritage has been passed over to the new Spyker company and its cars.
Since October 2000 when the Spyker C8 Spyder was unveiled at the Birmingham Motor Show,
Spyker has established a strong foothold in the super car market niche. Hand-built in the best tradition of the traditional Spykers by the most dedicated craftsmen of our time using the very best materials available. Created with passion for the most passionate of drivers.
The Spyker C8 Spyder won instant acclaim and was awarded the 2000 Institute of Vehicle Engineers Design Award on 18 October 2000. The Spyker C8 Laviolette, a coupe reminiscent of modern jet fighters, made its debut during the Amsterdam Motor Show in February 2001.
Subsequently the Spyker C8 Double12 R, Spyker's Le Mans endurance racer, was launched during the IAA in Frankfurt in September 2001 with which Spyker participated in the 2002 and 2003 edition of the 24 hours of Le Mans. The street version of the Spyker C8 Double12, the so called 'S', was unveiled at the Birmingham Motor Show in October 2002.
In the meantime countless other concourses d'elegance and events were attended in Europe and the USA. The Spyker C8 Spyder T, a twin turbo variant of its C8 Spyder was presented at the IAA in Frankfurt in September 2003.
In the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2003 Spyker won its first victory: finishing 10th in class and 30th overall.
In May 2004 Spyker went public by means of an initial public offering (IPO): on 27 May 2004 the company was listed at the Amsterdam Stock Exchange (ticker symbol SPYKR) Euronext Amsterdam.
Spyker was recognized as a National and Mobile Heritage by the Dutch Ministry of Education,
Culture and Science on 23 September 2004.
On March 1, 2005 Spyker announced that it had obtained approval for its C8 models in the USA by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Subsequently, on June 30, 2005, Spyker announced that it had obtained the necessary waivers by NHTSA for the last waiver applications. With this final approval, these models are now fully US road legal.
The Spyker C12 LaTurbie made its worldwide debut during the Geneva Motor Show in March 2005.
It will be the first Spyker powered by the 6.0 litre W12 Audi engine.
On 24 March 2005 Spyker announced its production agreement with Wilhelm Karmann GmbH of Osnabruck, Germany for the production of chassis and bodies in white.
A Spyker C8 Laviolette (chassis number 015) obtained a leading role in the major motion picture
Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addiction. Filming started in May 2005. The release is scheduled for 15 March 2006 in London and 27 March in New York.
On September 4, 2005, the Spyker C8 Spyder GT2R (chassis number 046) won a major victory and a podium place, finishing second in its class (LMGT) during the LMES 1000km of Nürburgring, Germany. On November 18, 2005, the same Spyker C8 Spyder GT2R won its second podium place, finishing second in its class (GT2) in Dubai during a FIA GT race.
In September 2005 the Spyker C8 Spyder was voted 'Best New Exotic Car 2006' by duPont Registry's Exotic Car Buyers Guide 2006, chosen from well over 100 cars.
On November 13, 2005, Spyker Cars and Mubadala Development Company (a principal investment company wholly owned by the Government of Abu Dhabi) announced their strategic alliance. The signing of the alliance was attended by HE Dr Jan Peter Balkenende, the Dutch Prime Minister.
In January 2006 Spyker was awarded 'Luxury Sports Car of the Year' by the members of China's 3rd largest portal and Asia's leading instant messenger QQ.com. The leading Chinese publication Hurun Report awarded Spyker with a second place on its list of 'Favourite Sport Cars' in Beijing.
Spyker Squadron entered two Spyker C8 Spyder GT2Rs in GT2 class for the entire 2006 European
Le Mans Endurance Race (LMS) series, including the 24 hours of Le Mans; several FIA GT races and the 12 Hours of Sebring (American Le Mans Series).
In February 2006 the Le Mans organisation Automobile Club de L'Ouest (AC0) already accepted the two Spyker race cars for the 74th "24-hours du Mans" on 17-18 June 2006.
The Spyker D12 Peking-to-Paris, made its worldwide debut during the Geneva Motor Show on
28 February 2006. It is Spyker's first Super Sports Utility Vehicle and marks the second product line. The car is a four-wheel drive, four-door, four-seater luxury super sports car powered by a 6.0 litre W12 engine.
Spyker was chosen for another major movie production: the film ROGUE with Jet Li and Jason Statham as lead actors. In the movie Jet Li's character (Rogue) drives a Spyker C8 Spyder. Two Spyker C8 Spyders and one Spyker C12 LaTurbie were delivered to the movie set in Canada where filming took place in May 2006. The movie is scheduled for a 2007 release.
On June 17th 2006 Spyker participated for the first time with a two car line-up during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
On 16 July 2006 Spyker finished 3rd in the 1000 km of Nürburgring.
On 30 July 2006 Spyker finished in 4th place during the 24hours of Spa-Francorchamps.