Racing Point Force India will be able to keep its Formula 1 prize money it earned in the previous seasons after an agreement with the teams.
With the formation of the new Racing Point Force India team, all the points scored by Sahara Force India in the first half was taken away as it headed into the Belgian last in the constructors’ championship with zero points.
The drivers though could keep their points scored. Another ongoing debate around the team was settled on Friday when it was confirmed by its new team principal Otmar Szafnauer that they are able to retain the prize money it earned as Sahara Force India.
The team finished fourth in the last two seasons which equals to a good amount earned from the FOM for a midfield team. When it entered as a new outfit on Thursday, it was forced to forfeit not only the points but also all the commercial benefits.
In short as it entered as a new team, it would start from scratch and only get to earn after three years in F1. Three teams were said to have appealed against the retention but have since then agreed for Force India to keep the prize money.
“The remaining nine teams have signed, so to speak, a document that enables us to keep the money that Sahara Force India had earned in years past,” confirmed Szafnauer. Summing up all the resolutions made, he added:
“The biggest consequence is the fact that we start from zero points, so we forego the 59 points, because those belong to Sahara Force India, which is not an entrant anymore. We are a new entrant and we start from zero.
“We’ll do the best we can to score as many points as we can in the remaining race and we’ll see where we end up at the end of the season, and that will determine some of the prize fund for the following year.
“As far as engine allocation goes, we had confirmation today from Charlie that we will continue with the engine allocation and gearbox allocation as if we never ceased racing. I think in his eyes he thought that was the most fair thing to do vis-à-vis the other teams.”
Meanwhile, when asked Renault’s Cyril Abiteboul on why they decided to first held the money back and then agreed to be given to Force India, he explained: “To be extremely clear, we did not change our mind in the sense that we never wanted to cause any more difficulty for Force India.
“We are already at ten teams, which I think is the minimum for a sustainable Formula One. If you look at also, by the way, opportunities for young drivers obviously more teams would be better than less teams – or at least more cars – so clearly we would not want to have caused anything bad for Force India.
“Having said that, it is true that we have seeked reassurance from the commercial rights holder that in future it will not be a requirement to be part of a group of teams in order to be able to fight for championships or to fight for wins.
“That’s definitely our ambition, to be in that position, but we don’t have right now the capacity or the strategy to form any particular alliance such that we would have a junior team or a partner team.
“We have a partnership with the gentleman on my left on the engine side, which could be expanded with more technology, but that’s not really something that we want should be imposed on us as a model in order to be successful.
“So that’s the sort of clarity that we are seeking from the commercial rights holder, that could not be obviously obtained through some new regulations in the interim of time necessary for Force India way forward and survival, but particularly in the context of the work on the budget cap and the restriction on resources, that debate, that discussion, is going to become even more important.
“We’ve had discussions, I believe that we share the same vision as Ross Brawn, as Chase Carey, for the future of the sport, we don’t have any guarantee, but we understand that we see the world in the same way.”