Thursday, August 11, 2022

Michael Latifi: 4 Important Things To Know If You Are A Racing Fan!

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Michael Latifi, the father of the F1 racer Williams Nicholas, is the owner and CEO of Sofina Foods. Through an investment company he also owns, Michael injected $200 million into the McLaren group. Passionate about racing and Ferrari, Latifi also bought an F2004 from Michael Schumacher and an F2007 from Kimi Räikkönen. Through the investment company Nidala (BVI) Limited, controlled by Latifi, invested around 270 million US dollars (200 million pounds sterling or 350 million Canadian dollars) in the McLaren Group.

Michael Latifi’s Life And Career Explained In 4 Points! 

1. Who is Michael Latifi?

Michael Mehrdad Latifi is an Iranian-Canadian businessman

Born in Iran, October 1962, the businessman had to leave his country for Canada at the age of 15, after the overthrow of the Shah in 1979. 

He is the owner, president, and CEO of Sofina Foods Inc. 

With his business degrees and his training as an engineer, Latifi founded Vienna Meats Products in 1995, a Toronto-based food processing company. Today, the company is called Sofina Foods (a manufacturer of processed animal products based in Markham, Ontario) 

The company’s turnover amounts to two billion dollars. Sofina acquired Lilydale in a C$130 million deal in 2010 and Santa Maria Foods ULC, an importer and distributor of Italian specialty brands in 2012.

His son is Nicholas Latifi

Michael is the father of Nicholas Latifi, Williams Racing’s main driver in Formula 1 since 2020. Nicholas Latifi’s mother, Marilena Latifi, was born into the Saputo family who founded the dairy company Saputo Inc. In addition to having invested about US$270 million through Nidala in the McLaren Group, Nicholas Latifi’s father Michael Latifi, also owns a company in the British Virgin Islands, Nidala.

On 14 March 2016, Renault announced Latifi Jr. as their new test driver for the 2016 Formula 1 season. In January 2018, Force India announced him as their reserve driver for the 2018 season. Latifi Jr. was announced as Williams’ test and reserve driver for the 2019 season, he tested the car, for the first time, and subsequently at the Bahrain Test and Canada’s first free practice.

On 28 November 2019, Williams announced Latifi Jr. as the starting driver alongside George Russell for the 2020 season, replacing Robert Kubica. Team Williams kept Latifi Jr. alongside Russell for the 2021 season. On August 1, 2021, Latifi Jr. won his first Formula 1 career points by finishing in eighth place, but he finished in seventh place due to Sebastian Vettel’s disqualification. 

2. In 2018, Michael Latifi bought 10% of the McLaren Group:

Businessman Michael Latifi became the third largest shareholder in the McLaren Group in 2018. 

The Woking-based company confirmed that the Canadian billionaire and father of Nicholas Latifi, the reserve driver of the Force India team, had acquired a 10% stake in the capital of the McLaren Group for an amount of 200 million dollars. 

McLaren Group is the holding company that brings together McLaren Racing, McLaren Automotive and McLaren Applied Technologies. The sovereign family of the Kingdom of Bahrain remains the majority shareholder of the McLaren Group with around 56% of the shares through the investment fund Muntalakat. Mansour Ojjeh, the former partner of Ron Dennis, remains the second leading shareholder with 14% of the shares. Four other shareholders shared the rest of the McLaren Group’s capital (about 20%) during the time Michael Latifi became the third largest shareholder. 

3. Fan of McLaren or buying votes?

“I am proud to be part of McLaren and this incredible brand” stated Michael Latifi. 

“I’ve been a big fan of the McLaren brand for a long time,” says Latifi Sr. 

“McLaren is a unique automotive, racing and technology company with exciting long-term growth prospects. This is why I decided to enter the capital of the company”. 

A source close to the Latifi family said that this transaction has no connection with the career of Michael Latifi’s son, Nicholas, who is currently playing for the DAMS team in Formula 2, in addition to being a driver of reserve in Formula 1 with Force India. He will also compete in free practice on Friday at the Canadian Grand Prix, on the Gilles-Villeneuve circuit on June 8, at the controls of a Force India.

However, it is very difficult to believe that this alliance between his family and McLaren will not benefit his racing career. Recall that Fernando Alonso, who is also aiming for victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and will certainly return to the Indy 500 in the near future, could retire from F1 within a year or two, while his current F1 teammate, the Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne has not yet had the chance to prove his abilities in the discipline despite being a former F2 champion. 

4. In 2020, Michael Latifi came to the rescue of his son’s Williams F1 team:

In May 2018, Michael Latifi had already bought 10% of the shares of the McLaren group for the sum of 351.8 million Canadian dollars. This investment did not involve his son Nicholas Latifi but he did offer a loan, the sum of which has not been identified, made through one of his companies, Latrus Racing, which handles the career of Nicholas Latifi (racing for the Williams team). 

The F1 Williams team (Williams Grand Prix Engineering Limited) confirmed in 2020 that it had refinanced the company to be able to weather the crisis linked to the global pandemic that took control of everything back in 2020. The team is currently racing in Formula One as Williams Racing, but had to have mortgaged its land, buildings and equipment, in addition to taking loans from a bank and a consortium led by Toronto businessman Michael Latifi, whose son Nicholas is a racer with Williams under the Canadian flag in the 2022 Formula One World Championship. 

The bank in question is HSBC (Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank Company), which has long been associated with the UK team.

Michael Latifi’s loan could have been supported by another company of Michael Latifi, Sofina Foods. 

Michael Latifi’s company financially supports the British Formula One motor racing team (Williams F1 team) and supported Nicholas Latifi’s journey to Formula 1. 

Other Interesting FAQs about Formula 1 Wealth and Income

Who is the richest racer in Formula 1?

Unsurprisingly, the richest active driver is none other than Mercedes’s very own Lewis Hamilton. His current salary is 55 million dollars a year, and estimates place his fortune between 300 and 500 million dollars. His many partnerships (Mercedes, Monster Energy, Bose, Puma, Tommy Hilfiger, IWC, Sony, Gran Turismo, and MV Agusta) undoubtedly allowed the Briton to reach the top of this salary cap. 

Not only that, two years back in 2020, Hamilton equaled Michael Schumacher’s number of world crowns. On the other hand, the German driver remains the biggest fortune among Formula 1 drivers, the latter being estimated between 600 and 800 million dollars. Forbes named him the highest-paid athlete in 1999 and 2000, with an annual salary of around $80 million at Ferrari.

Who are the richest players in Formula 1?

The sums at stake are colossal at Formula 1 because it is a sport that has no equal in terms of expenditure. So if you want to be a racer in this world, it is better to have sacred financial resources. 

First off, let’s talk about the Claro sticker, present on the rear wing of the Red Bull. This company is the South American subsidiary of America Movil, a telecommunications group present in the Forbes Global 2000 ranking which employs around 250,000 people and whose head office is located in Mexico City. 

In 2020, the company’s revenues exceeded $50 billion and the president, Carlos Slim Helú, has an estimated fortune of $62.8 billion according to Forbes, making him the 16th richest man on the planet. 

The Mexican duo (The 16th richest man along with his son Carlos Slim Domit), have been the main financial support for Sergio Pérez, who joined Red Bull last year. The driver and the Slim family are closely linked, as the latter sponsored Pérez’s rise to Formula 1 through their company Telmex, right from his debut in the Skip Barber single-seater championship. This sticker, brought by Pérez, is placed on a car belonging to the 56th richest in the world, estimated to be worth more than 26.9 billion dollars. However, this man does not even own half of the stable! 

Who is the richest team owner in Formula 1?

Dietrich Mateschitz, co-founder, managing director and 49% owner of the Red Bull company, has two teams in Formula 1. The 76-year-old Austrian is so passionate about the premier category of motorsport that he not only bought Jaguar (to make it Red Bull Racing), but also Minardi, which became Toro Rosso and then AlphaTauri.

More than thirty years ago, Mateschitz was looking to market toothpaste in Thailand. During his trip, he discovered a drink called Krating Daeng, which allowed him to fight against the fatigue of jet lag. The Austrian then collaborated with the creator of this drink to make a version adapted to the Western market: Red Bull was born in 1987. Today, the brand is the world leader in the energy drink market.

The first connection between the famous drink and Formula 1 was made through Gerhard Berger. Later, the company would own 60% of the Sauber stable, until Peter Sauber refused to sign Red Bull-backed driver Enrique Bernoldi, preferring then the young and promising Kimi Räikkönen. In November 2004, Mateschitz then decided to buy the Jaguar team from Ford (for the symbolic amount of one pound). A year later, with the help of Gerhard Berger, he acquired Minardi and renamed the team Scuderia Toro Rosso.

Since these takeovers, Red Bull Racing has won four Constructors’ World Championship titles (from 2010 to 2013), notably thanks to Sebastian Vettel, himself a winner with Toro Rosso in 2008. Currently, the structure of Faenza is called AlphaTauri, thus highlighting the fashion brand of the Austrian giant. Mateschitz is also the owner of the Red Bull Ring, where the Austrian Grand Prix is ​​held each year.

In 2012, the owner of the Red Bull company Chaleo Yoovidhya passed away, giving up his shares to his son Chalerm. The Thai businessman is, therefore, technically, the richest team owner in the world, although Mateschitz is considered the real owner by the paddock, thanks in particular to his involvement.

Who is the richest promoter in Formula 1?

Associated with the Formula 1 Grands Prix are many wealthy people such as Singapore property and hotel magnate Ong Beng Seng, who was instrumental in bringing the competition to the streets of his city. 

  • Prince Albert of Monaco, who hosts the most popular Grand Prix on the calendar, is also said to be a billionaire.
  • Also part of this caste is John DeJoria, investor in the Circuit of the Americas in Austin. 
  • The American, co-founder of Paul Mitchell hair products, has a fortune of more than one billion dollars. 
  • The Miami Grand Prix can also count on a wealthy boss. Stephen Ross, head of the Florida Race Organization and owner of the Miami Dolphins American football team, has a personal fortune of $7.5 billion. The American businessman was in the running to buy Formula 1 with his company RSE Ventures, but it was ultimately Liberty Media that took over the queen discipline of motorsport. Ross finally made it into the racing world, after several delays due to local opposition and the COVID-19 pandemic, but the idea of ​​a Grand Prix in downtown Miami was scrapped, and the businessman will finally see single-seaters circling around his own stadium in 2022. 

But the arrival of the Eastern powers on the Formula 1 calendar has turned the cards around. 

Bahrain:

For example, The Bahrain and Abu Dhabi Grands Prix are organized by the royal families. The fortune of the Bahraini rulers is estimated at around 4 billion dollars. Crown Prince Salman, a Formula 1 enthusiast and investor in the McLaren team through Mumtalakat (the country’s sovereign wealth fund), has 17 billion dollars in assets.

Abu Dhabi:

For his part, the Emir of Abu Dhabi, Sheik Khalifa, controls the national investment authority which, with 875 billion dollars in assets, is the largest amount managed by a head of state in the world. The royal family, meanwhile, has an estimated fortune of $150 billion.

How rich are Formula 1 owners?

Liberty Media bought Formula 1 in 2017 from private equity firm CVC for $4.6 billion. Liberty is run by John Malone, an American billionaire considered to be America’s largest private landowner. According to Forbes, his fortune is estimated at $7.8 billion.

In a document recently transferred to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Liberty reveals that its CEO, Greg Maffei, was paid $47.1 million in 2020 (compared to $44 million the previous year), a rise explained by shares and options. His base salary was $871,800.

As for Bernie Ecclestone, the charismatic former president of Formula 1, his personal fortune is estimated at more than 3 billion dollars in 2021. The Briton remained president emeritus of the competition until 2020.

Who are the richest fathers of drivers in Formula 1?

At Aston Martin, Lance Stroll drives for his father, Lawrence, whose net worth is estimated at $3.2 billion. At the start of 2020, Stroll led the takeover of the famous English manufacturer for $235 million, in particular to rename his team (formerly Racing Point), bought in 2018 for more than $100 million.

Lance’s father was the mastermind behind the IPO of fashion brand Michael Kors in 2011, before selling his last shares in 2014. But at the start of the decade, the Canadian’s CV was already rich: he introduced clothing brands Pierre Cardin and Ralph Lauren to Canada, before investing in Tommy Hilfiger with his Hong Kong partner Silas Chou. Stroll is also a well-known Ferrari collector, and bought a 275 GTB/4 Spider for a record $27.5 million in 2013.

Haas racer Nikita Mazepin ‘s father, Dmitry, is the majority shareholder and chairman of the board of Uralchem ​​Integrated Chemicals Company. He was on Forbes’ billionaires list in 2014 and 2015, after buying Uralkali, the world’s largest potash producer and whose name appears on Haas cars, in 2013 for $5 billion. He previously worked for petrochemical companies TNK and Sibur, and established his own company in 2004, which has since been merged with Uralchem. Dmitry Mazepin was in competition in 2018 to buy the Force India team, but lost to Lawrence Stroll. Finally, Michael Latifi, father of the racer Williams Nicholas, is the owner and the famous CEO of Sofina Foods. 

Will there be more money in Formula 1?

As McLaren chief Zak Brown often says, F1 is a place where you can “get famous fast”. And it shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. So we must ask if there is more money to milk in F1. 

Formula 1 With new rules and budget caps in place since 2021, has finally got its costs under control from a competitive perspective. But that won’t stop the world’s wealthiest from getting involved and helping to skyrocket revenues.

Adding a second race in the United States, home to multi-billion dollar sports franchise owners, will only improve the appeal of F1, which is expanding its calendar under Liberty’s leadership. The influence of Netflix’s Drive to Survive series and Lewis Hamilton’s social activism, alongside his successes on the track, should also enable further growth through a broader spotlight on the discipline.

Sponsorship is another good barometer of F1’s financial health, with Cognizant taking title rights at Aston Martin, Oracle becoming a big player at Red Bull and Mercedes’ third major sponsor TeamViewer. The acquisition of the Williams team by the American investment company Dorilton Capital, for the sum of 180 million dollars, may not be the last change of ownership or the last injection of cash into the paddock. 

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