KITZBUEHEL, Austria (AFP) - The Formula One circus could be under new ownership by the end of the year, supremo Bernie Ecclestone said on Tuesday.
Speaking by video at a sports summit in Kitzbuehel, Austria, organised by German football legend Franz Beckenbauer, Ecclestone was adamant a new owner would be found this year.
"Our shareholders are in a position at the moment where they have to lose some, or all, of their shares shortly," he said.
"That's the way things are set up for them. There has been a lot of interest, and I would say there are three parties at the moment. I'd be surprised if one of them doesn't buy very shortly."
The 84-year-old, who runs Formula One Management, the company that generates and manages F1's revenue, did not reveal the names of the interested parties.
F1 chief executive Ecclestone confirmed he would sell his own 5 per cent stake in the business as part of any deal, although he is likely to continue in his current role.
Back in June, the Financial Times claimed that American Stephen Ross, the owner of the Miami Dolphins NFL team, and Qatar Sports Investment (QSI) had both expressed an interest in buying a 35.5 per cent controlling interest in F1, currently held by CVC Capital Partners.
QSI, who also own French Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain, have been wooing the International Automobile Federation (FIA), which held its annual gala at the end of last year in the Qatari capital, Doha.
Although it remains extremely popular, F1 has seen falling audiences over the last year and a lack of genuine competition in races as the Mercedes stable have taken over from Red Bull in dominating the sport.