HONG KONG: Hong Kong-based billionaire Calvin Lo, who already has financial links to Formula One team Williams, says he would like to see a greater Asian presence in F1 and is in talks with potential new teams. The chief executive of insurance broker RE Lee International said he was considering backing a bid to enter in 2026 and money was not the major hurdle. While he would not identify the teams, he ruled out involvement in a planned all-American Andretti Cadillac outfit and another Hitech Grand Prix one. “The financial part, believe it or not, to me is actually not the biggest problem,” he told Reuters at his Hong Kong headquarters in the central business district. “It’s actually gathering all the expertise … the mechanics, the whole team together into one unit. So right now there are a few opportunities coming up, have come up, and we are talking quite seriously with a few teams.” Lo said his existing ties to Williams would not pose any problem. Formula One’s governing body has sought bids from potential new teams with a deadline provisionally set for April 30, although Lo indicated it had been pushed back to May. Formula One has 10 teams and is limited to a maximum 12 up to and including the 2025 season. The sport will have a new power unit from 2026. Lo said one potential team he was talking to had already applied and another was “still going on behind the scenes doing their thing. I’m just here waiting, looking at the reports, looking at the numbers, making sure everything looks fine for the long term,” he said. Any new team must pay a $200 million fee, with that money shared by the existing competitors as compensation for the dilution of the share of revenues. Some teams feel the entry fee should be significantly greater, reflecting the sport’s rise in popularity and value with even once-fragile teams now operating as sustainable franchises. Lo said a non-disclosure agreement prevented him giving details of his involvement with former champions Williams, who were bought by U.S.-based private investment firm Dorilton Capital in 2020. “I could say that there are involvements through investment companies to be co-investing into that team,” he said. “I think that’s the most I could say, especially now that we’re… possibly bidding for a new team for 2026.” FOCUS ON ASIA: Lo also said Liberty Media-owned Formula One had been “focusing too much on the U.S.” and needed to pay more attention to Asia and its potential. “I think there are a lot more Asian players, investors, who want to get into this sport – more than we could ever imagine,” he added, mentioning also car manufacturers in Japan, South Korea and China. “I’m fortunate enough to be able to know many of them and they’ve sounded out and expressed their interest in getting involved. So a consortium, pool resources together,” he added of those unidentified investors. Formula One has three U.S. races this year, including a new night-time extravaganza in Las Vegas, while the Chinese Grand Prix has been cancelled for the fourth year in a row due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The sport races in Singapore and Japan but past rounds in South Korea and Malaysia have dropped off the calendar and a planned race in Vietnam came to nothing. Lo said he was keen to set up an academy in south-east Asia, maybe even in Hong Kong, to train people for a career in all areas of the sport. “I would like to see F1 to be more involving Asia, more Asian talent, not just the drivers but from behind the scenes,” he said.