Shnaider proud of Midlands achievements 10 Sep 2006
Just 20 months after purchasing it from Jordan, the Midland Group has sold the team to Dutch sportscar makers Spyker. In a statement issued with the sale announcement, chairman Alex Shnaider revealed why he opted to sell and what he believes the team has achieved over the past two seasons:
"The decision to sell the team has been one of the most difficult I have ever faced. 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 One 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 One fans, and we wish the sport, the team and its new owners the greatest success in the future.
"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. 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.
"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. 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."