Business F1 Top 20 Petrolheads: Fritz Kaiser, Mr Mover and Shaker

  • 10 February 2024
  • 3 min read
  • 4 images
Business F1 Top 20 Petrolheads: Fritz Kaiser, Mr Mover and Shaker image

In its December 2023 issue, Business F1 Magazine recognized Fritz Kaiser as among the world’s top twenty celebrated “petrolheads” alongside well-known personalities such as Bernie Ecclestone, Jay Leno, Nick Mason (Pink Floyd), Ralph Lauren or Patrick Dempsey.

Kaiser is described as a true entrepreneur, born and raised in Liechtenstein, from where he operates his own little financial empire with an awarded private bank, a multi-client family office and a renewable energy business currently developing off-shore-wind-parks in the Philippines. He is highly regarded with his talent for his dependable touch and smart approach in managing finances and brokering deals for his clients. Kaiser's words are marked by careful consideration, emerging only after deep thought. He shies away from impulsive replies, favouring measured responses, and this has always been his strength.

Kaiser initially made his name in the global sports arena. Back in 1976 he participated at the Olympics in Montreal with the Liechtenstein Judo team and he always has held a deep affection for cars and the sporting sector. He skillfully supported young Austrian driver Gerhard Berger throughout his Formula One career to help him close lucrative deals and make him one of the best paid on the grid. In the 1980s he served with one of his companies as the marketing partner for the German Saloon Car Championship before he finally became the co-owner and chairman of the Red Bull Sauber Petronas Formula One Team in the 1990s.

The Sauber team, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year and is set to introduce AUDI to Formula 1 in 2026, would not be around today if not for Kaiser. His introduction of Dietrich Mateschitz of Red Bull in late 1994 saved the team from closure. Kaiser negotiated a deal whereby Red Bull boss, Dietrich Mateschitz agreed to buy a 51 percent stake in the company. Peter Sauber's stake was diluted to 24.5 percent and Kaiser finally took a 24.5 percent stake. Kaiser then convinced Tan Sri Azizan Zainul Abidin, Chairman of Petronas to join the new Formula One team set-up. In the following Sauber Petronas Engineering was created and Kaiser engineered a deal with Ferrari for Formula One engines batched Petronas which marked the beginning of todays Formula One customer engine business.

Kaiser’s introduction of Red Bull and Petronas into Formula One initiated what was to become the sport’s longest and biggest ever billion dollar sponsorships. Over time Red Bull and Petronas eclipsed even the huge amounts put in by Marlboro and Shell. So his place in Formula One history is assured. Kaiser left Formula One at the end of the 1999 season when he sold his shares in the team to Peter Sauber and Dietrich Mateschitz. Later on Mateschitz asked Kaiser to find a fair exit for Red Bull at Sauber and he arranged the sale of the Red Bull stake to Credit Suisse.

He then became interested in the classic car market, entering a new world of historic cars with their collectors that allowed to mix his business interests with his personal passion. He founded The Classic Car Trust (TCCT), a not-for-profit initiative that advocates the heritage and preservation of vintage cars in a rapidly changing world and started to publish the year book “The Key” that includes the ranking of the top 100 classic car collectors globally. Today TCCT enjoys a significant international acclaim in high places.

Business F1 Top 20 Petrolheads: Fritz Kaiser, Mr Mover and Shaker - 1Fritz Kaiser and Jean Todt 2019 at the TCCT Forum in Paris on the future of classic cars

In 2019, TCCT organized a forum at the FIA headquarters in Paris, co-hosted by Jean Todt, then FIA president, bringing together market leaders and collectors to discuss the future of classic cars. And in May of 2023 Kaiser launched Roarington, the Classic Car Metaland. Roarington represents an ambitious initiative that draws on the support of prominent and influential figures. Its goal is to merge the real and digital worlds, thereby connecting a new generation with classic cars. By creating digital twins and NFTs, the initiative aims to immortalize these vintage automobiles.

Business F1 Top 20 Petrolheads: Fritz Kaiser, Mr Mover and Shaker - 2Fritz Kaiser with his Porsche 550 Spyder at the Bernina Hill Climb Rally in 2020

Over the past two decades and in between all these activities Fritz Kaiser began collecting iconic cars from the 50s and 60s and has created a significant collection. As an ambitious sportsman, he soon achieved victory in the Morocco Rally with his wife Birgit as the co-pilot. He has his own taste and does not own a car that cannot be called beautiful. His Porsche 550 Spyder RS is the winner of the Nurburgring race in 1956. Only 90 units of them were produced and it is celebrated for its triumphant history in prestigious races like the Mille Miglia,Targa Florio or the Nurburgring. And the death of James Dean in his "little bastard" made these cars world-famous.

Business F1 Top 20 Petrolheads: Fritz Kaiser, Mr Mover and Shaker - 3Birgit and Fritz Kaiser winning the Morocco Rallye 2013 with the Mercedes 300 SL Roadster

Kaiser also owns a truly unique Lamborghini Miura: the very one featured in the cult film “The Italian Job”, arguably the most coveted in the world. Demonstrating his acumen, he acquired it at market price following detailed investigations that verified its true identity. Now, with Lamborghini’s official verification as the genuine film car, its value has skyrocketed.

Business F1 Top 20 Petrolheads: Fritz Kaiser, Mr Mover and Shaker - 4Fritz Kaiser with the Italian Job Miura at Pebble Beach in 2019