Dec 012008

If ever there was any doubt as to Mark Skaife’s deficiency in business acumen, surely this story confirms those misgivings in the worst possible way.

One should never discount the canny ability of a frugal Scot to come back from adversity. Reading the article, and between the lines, it would appear that almost from the moment Skaife took over the racing team from a then bankrupt Walkinshaw, he was doomed to fail. It’s relatively clear that forces within and without the motorsport game have moved against Skaife. One has to ask, how does a former bankrupt Scottish motorsport ‘magnate’ bounce back so readily, if not with the assistance of a manufacturer? Evidence the following passage not included in the linked article, but written by the same reporter, as appears in the Adelaide Advertiser.

It is also alleged that Skaife’s dire position was contributed to by his major sponsor, Holden Special Vehicles – also owned by Walkinshaw – not paying the sponsorship amount for two years. And it’s also claimed the cost of parts and service for Skaife’s team were raised after Walkinshaw took control of Holden Motorsport in 2007.

Walkinshaw wants control of HRT again, and it’s looking very much as though GM-H may well be helping out along the way. There’s plausible deniability here, due to the distance between manufacturer and contracted service provider, but I still fail to understand how a former bankrupt can, within the space of five years, come back from oblivion to the point of reacquiring the race team he lost. There’s a clear machiavellian strategy at play, with a Walkinshaw-owned entity defaulting on sponsorship monies, accounting system changes and increases in costs for services.
Mark Skaife should have remained a driver. It’s his first, best destiny. A business tycoon he most certainly is not. Now it seems he’s likely to wind up being neither.

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