Following a high-profile takeover of Chelsea Football Club that’s currently underway, F1 Champ Max Verstappen took a shot at rival Sir Lewis Hamilton over his choice of club.
The takeover is spearheaded by a key figure in British football — ex-Liverpool chairman Sir Martin Broughton, who is assembling a consortium of wealthy investors from the worlds of business and sport to buy the club from owner Roman Abramovich.
Speaking to reporters about the bid, Verstappen said, “I am a PSV [Eindhoven] fan and I would never buy Ajax. And if I were going to buy a football club, I would want to be the full owner and to take the decisions myself, not just own a tiny percentage.”
“I thought he was an Arsenal fan, no? If you are an Arsenal fan going for Chelsea, that is quite interesting,” quipped the Dutch racer. “But everyone does what they want with their money so let’s see what comes out of it.”
2022’s Most High–Profile Sports Bidding War
While most details surrounding the bids are under wraps, tennis legend Serena Williams was also said to be in the running. It won’t be the first time an American athlete has invested in an English club; even NBA star Lebron James owned a small stake in Liverpool for over a decade.
According to sources close to the group, both Hamilton and Williams will pledge an estimated $13 million to the bid, and were considered due to their ‘experience at building global sports brands’.
While the bidding amounts aren’t officially confirmed, both superstars aren’t new to investing in companies. While Hamilton has backed a bunch of startups such as ‘Zapp’ — London’s answer to grocery delivery apps — Williams runs ‘Serena Ventures’, a venture capital fund that recently invested seven figures into ‘Opensponsorship,’ a British sports tech startup.
The consortium also includes Canada’s Rogers family, which owns big stakes in Rogers Communications, John Arnold, who chaired the Houston 2026 FIFA World Cup bid committee, Taiwan’s Tsai family, who own the Taipei Fubon Braves and Fubon Guardians baseball teams, and finally, Alejandro Santo Domingo, a prolific sports franchise investor and the heir to a beer fortune through Anheuser-Busch InBev — the beer giant that owns Budweiser.
Meanwhile, Formula 1 fans debated Verstappen’s point, with many looking unfavorably at Hamilton’s bid:
Very strange move by him really . Ok it’s business but these someone that rich really need to sacrifice their supposed loyalty for a bit more cash pic.twitter.com/i8skKzmMUw
— The Arsenal Therapy Show™ (@ARSENAL_THERAP) April 21, 2022
Others spun up conspiracy theories, suggesting that Hamilton aimed to destroy Chelsea from the inside:
Hamilton could be running the long con where he runs Chelsea into the ground. I’d support it.
— England taking L’s in 1776, 1812, and 2022 (@brian_ak47) April 21, 2022
Verstappen and Hamilton will butt heads once again this weekend at the Imola Grand Prix, but will they knock out Ferrari on their own home turf? We’ll find out this Sunday.
(Featured Image Credits: Formula 1, FIA)