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Toto Wolff: U.S. investors 'good news' for F1

Mark Sutton/Sutton Images

MONZA, Italy -- Toto Wolff believes Formula One's potential new Amercan investors could be "good news" for the sport as it nears an $8.5 billion takeover.

Over the Italian Grand Prix weekend news broke that Liberty Media is going ahead with its planned purchase of F1, with the takeover expected to begin this week. Although no timeline for the takeover has been revealed just yet, a change in ownership would inevitably come with considerable changes to how the sport is run.

Wolff thinks Liberty could help F1 adopt a more modern outlook if the takeover goes ahead, pointing to the success of American sports media to highlight his point.

"If there is an investor that wants to buy shares I think that is good news for F1," Wolff said. "You've seen it today, it was unbelievable, the fans and full grandstands. Maybe it is good news, American investment, American media company buys F1.

"If you buy a company for that price and you are in charge of a media empire like Liberty there are certain things you have done in your life. I don't think anybody would buy that stake and spend that money and come in and say 'we are not changing everything and we are doing it the American way'.

"There are things we can learn from the American way, particularly in the digital areas, and there are things working here that are not working there. So I think they are going to have a close look and analyse what they think needs to be changed, improved or what needs to remain. There is a reason why these guys can afford to buy this."

One area of the deal which remains unclear is whether Bernie Ecclestone will stay on as F1 boss, a controlling role he has held since the 1970s.

"I don't know what happens in terms of management," Wolff went on to say. "Bernie has done an awesome job over 50 years and made it what it is and I think everybody credits him for that..."

Asked if he wanted Ecclestone to stay on as boss, Wolff said: "I don't want to jump into that group that says.... He has built an empire and we are benefitting from that empire. That thing generates dozens and dozens of live views and full race tracks like we had today and one and a half billion in profits like we've had every year.

"He's done an awesome job and whether the future shows there are areas which can be improved or not, I don't know, but I don't want to speculate because that is just wrong."

Red Bull boss Christian Horner, himself tipped to run the sport in future, hopes the deal does not spell the end of Ecclestone's tenure at the helm.

"I sincerely hope this is not Bernie's last race," Horner said in Monza on Sunday. "I don't believe it will be. And obviously we will all wait to see what the news is over the next couple of weeks regarding the ownership or shareholding of F1, if there is any change or redistribution. So there is an awful lot of speculation at this point in time."