F1: Calvin Lo plotting new team entry for 2026 season

Billionaire says ensuring financial viability of project is key before entry.
  • Lo was previously involved in acquisition of Williams team by Dorilton Capital
  • Hong Kong-based 46-year-old’s net worth valued at US$1.7bn by Forbes

Hong Kong-based billionaire Calvin Lo is weighing up the possibility of forming a new Formula One team for the 2026 season.

Lo has previously been involved in the 2020 takeover of the Williams team by US-based investment firm Dorilton Capital, although the extent of his involvement has not been made public. Having long been linked with further investment in the sport, the chief executive of insurance broker RE Lee International is now considering forming his own team.

Lo told BBC Sport that he is currently looking at the financial requirements around forming a team, with a decision on his approach to be reached shortly given the quick progress needed to be made to be on the grid for 2026.

“Based on what I’m seeing right now, it’s highly aspirational, but it seems like it can be done if all the stars are aligned,” Lo said.

The 46-year-old, whose net worth is estimated at US$1.7 billion by Forbes, said the team’s funding would be straightforward, stressing that ensuring financial viability prior to entry was key to ensuring long-term stability. He added that creating a new team was his preferred option over buying into an existing constructor.

Currently, any new team is bound by the sport’s rules to pay US$200 million into a fund designed to compensate the existing teams, for a potential loss of income caused by a greater split in prize money. This also doesn’t take into account the cost of building up a team’s infrastructure, which Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has previously suggested would cost around US$1 billion.

“It’s how long you can sustain it,” Lo said. “In this world, finding liquidity for one or two years, relatively it’s easy. But can you last for three years, five years? That’s the part that the crunching of the numbers comes in.

“I look at it just like an investment. How long do I have to amortise that cost? At what year, at what date, do we need to inject funds if it does not hit certain targets?

“And, of course, the targets must be set realistically. You cannot just go in first year and win everything. The numbers must be very conservatively managed. I think that’s the tricky part.”

While having not yet discussed plans with the sport’s governing body the International Automobile Federation (FIA) or Formula One officials, Lo said early discussions are underway “through intermediaries.” He cited the rapid popularity growth of the sport as a reason to launch an approach now, particularly in Asia.

As well as Lo, US racing outfit Andretti Autosport has also been pushing for a place on the Formula One grid, with Michael Andretti recently reaffirming he is still bidding to enter the elite motorsport series.

Elsewhere in Formula One, the Bahrain Grand Prix has renewed its title partnership with Gulf Air, ensuring a key piece of the commercial inventory remains in place for the race in Sakhir.