By Philip Duncan, PA F1 Correspondent and Simon Peach, PA Chief Football Writer
Seven-time Formula One world champion Sir Lewis Hamilton is not currently active in Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s move to buy Manchester United.
Ratcliffe has entered the bidding for United as one of the UK’s richest men looks to complete a takeover of the club he supported as a boy.
The 70-year-old has a reported net worth a £12.5billion thanks to the success of global chemical company INEOS, which is principal partner and one-third shareholder of Hamilton’s Mercedes team.
Hamilton, 38, formed part of Sir Martin Broughton’s failed bid to buy Chelsea last year, but subsequently bought a stake in NFL franchise Denver Broncos.
Ratcliffe meanwhile invested in Mercedes in 2020, has attended a number of races and grown close to Hamilton – who holds the record for the most wins in Formula One.
When asked about Ratcliffe’s potential United takeover at last September’s Dutch Grand Prix, Hamilton said: “Jim is part-boss and part-partner. I’d say we’re more partners because we’re in this together.
“I hope in the future to do something with Jim and build with him. I don’t know when that will be or what that will be.
“But I do want to get more and more involved in teams because I really do believe in black ownership and black equity, because there is a real lack of that in sport.”
Club statement on a process to explore strategic options for Manchester United.#MUFC
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) November 22, 2022
However, the PA news agency understands that Hamilton is not currently involved in the bid.
United announced on November 22 that the board “will consider all strategic alternatives, including new investment into the club, a sale, or other transactions involving the company”.
Executive co-chairmen Avram and Joel Glazer added that they were looking to “maximise the significant growth opportunities available to the club today and in the future”.
INEOS became the first prospective buyer to confirm it had entered the bidding for United, with a spokesperson telling PA on Tuesday that it had “formally put ourselves into the process”.
— NFL (@NFL) October 18, 2022
The Raine Group is acting as United’s exclusive financial advisor having overseen Chelsea’s sale last year.
The investment banking firm is looking to keep the process moving as quickly as possible, with the first quarter of the year recognised as a key time.
United face Crystal Palace on Wednesday evening as Erik ten Hag’s men head to Selhurst Park looking for a 10th straight win in all competitions.
Meanwhile, Hamilton will unveil his new Mercedes at the team’s launch at Silverstone on February 15 ahead of the first round of the new F1 season in Bahrain on March 5.
Hamilton’s current £40million-a-year deal with Mercedes expires at the end of the season but it is expected he will commit to a new two-year contract.