Major investment into the Alpine F1 team from celebrity duo Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney has left racing icon Eddie Jordan raising an eyebrow. Jordan, a longtime figure in F1 whose team bearing his name in the 1990s would eventually morph into the Aston Martin operation today, questioned the figures involved in their investment, arguing Alpine couldn't be worth what it is now valued at.
Reynolds and McElhenny, who is most known for his role on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, have bought a 24% stake in the team through their company, Maximum Effort Investments, which is also part-owned by actor Michael B. Jordan. Their investment into Alpine is reportedly worth as much as $375 million, more than 200 million euros.
The acting duo are no strangers to sports investment. The pair are well known for their ownership of Welsh football club Wrexham, having helped steer the side to a championship in the fifth-tier of the English Football League this year.
As a result, Alpine's overall valuation as a team has reportedly grown to be more than $1.3 billion, putting it on par with the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari. The eye-watering figures have left Eddie Jordan in disbelief.
He said it was 'preposterous' that Alpine was now worth what the team claims, however his assessment was rejected by F1 boss Stefano Domenicali. He claimed on F1 podcast Beyond the Grid earlier this year that multiple teams had fielded offers worth billions amid the sport's exploding popularity, particularly in the United States.
“I don’t believe it, first of all. I won’t use the word fake news, but I mean, there’s absolutely no way from an accounting point of view — the financial model doesn’t stack up. That’s number one,” Jordan said.
“I find that in itself kind of strange to value something of that level at a gross value of £700m (A$1.34 billion). It’s preposterous. It’s ridiculous.
Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney are joining an investor group taking a 24 per cent equity stake in Alpine Racing 🏎 pic.twitter.com/7s5oNNT2OT
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) June 26, 2023
Will some famous investors make Alpine more relevant to the F1 fanbase, I wonder?
We can see which teams interest (a particular corner of) F1 fans on our platforms, and it’s very tough to make them care about Alpine.
People were more interested when it was called Renault 🟡⚫️ pic.twitter.com/9wVWCtaztQ
— Glenn Freeman (@glennfreeman39) June 26, 2023
Alpine’s investor deal is stark evidence of the value of owning an F1 franchise in the Liberty era of more equitably distributed prize money, cost cap & profitability. As the team is valued by US investors at USD$900m, that puts front runners in the $1.25-1.5bn range. #F1
— Mark Gallagher (@_markgallagher) June 26, 2023
“I mean it’s all very nice and very sexy to put these figures on things but they need to be supported, and they need to be authorised. What does that then value people like a Ferrari or a Mercedes or a Red Bull for example?
“That is what I consider to be the value of those teams, and I regret but with Alpine it’s not even close to that yet.”
F1 boss marvels at eye-watering value of investment
Jordan also suggested, incorrectly, that neither Alpine or its parent company, French auto manufacturer Renault, had publicly acknowledged the investment. Both have made public statements welcoming the buy-in from Reynolds and McElhenny.
While he conceded that it was an overall positive, particularly for Alpine, he questioned what the future of US-based investment in F1 would look like. He drew a comparison to football, where there are upwards of '30 or 40' teams that would be worth looking at, rather than just 10 F1 teams, many of which have direct ties to auto manufacturers.
Earlier in the year Domenicali had marvelled at the money coming into F1, compared to when failing teams had been sold on for as little as one pound in order to help new owners maintain an existing workforce. Under the Concorde Agreement signed between F1 teams and the FIA several years ago, which essentially dictates the terms of F1 competitions and the conditions to enter the series for new teams, Domenicalo said the money coming into F1 now far and away outstripped what had been seen in decades past.
“I would say two years ago, when the new Concorde Agreement has been signed, when there was the talk about ‘what is the value of a team that has to come in Formula 1,” Domenicali said. “There was a number put on the Concorde Agreement, that was USD$200 million, which seemed unreachable, because there were teams in the past that were sold by £1.
“Now, the market is offering almost billions to teams, and they are refusing that. Can you imagine that?”
Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.