The FIA has confirmed a mid-season entry for Racing Point Force India team with immediate effect which will allow the team to race in this weekend’s Belgian GP.
The team went into administration over the Hungarian GP via Sergio Perez and his manager Julian Jakobi’s Brockstone Ltd. The FRP Advisory was put as their administrators to seek a new owner for the team going forward.
In less than two weeks, a seven-member consortium led by Lawrence Stroll bought the team from Vijay Mallya, Sahara Group and Michiel Mol. The new owners and the administrators had two weeks to finalise the documents and get ready for the race in Belgian GP.
However, the buyout was made difficult considering Mallya’s legal troubles in India wherein any sale of the team had to get the consent of the 13 banks owing money by Mallya. They failed to get the approval on time and so the team’s participation in Belgian GP became doubtful.
Another of the bidders Dmitry Mazepin-led Uralkali alleged of wrongdoing by the administrators on this very point which FRP denied. However, Stroll’s worst dream came true ahead of the Belgian GP. As an alternative, the team could have raced this weekend but under a fresh entry.
Even though Stroll had all the equipment with him, he did not have the entry which had to be passed by the FIA after agreement with all the teams. The move meant the team had to forfeit all the commercial payments it was to receive from F1 for finishing fourth last year.
The FIA has since accepted Stroll’s bid to races as a new team under the name of ‘Racing Point Force India’ which has been formed and been given the permission to continue in the remainder of the 2018 season.
Since it is a new team, all its points scored in the first of the season has been taken away as it sits last with zero against it helping Williams to sit ninth for the team being. The drivers though can keep their points and results.
The team also confirmed that its deputy team principal Robert Fernley is no longer with the team as its COO Otmar Szafnauer takes over as the CEO and becomes the new team principal replacing Mallya.
Full statement from the FIA:
“The Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), has today, 23 August, accepted the mid-season entry of Racing Point Force India with immediate effect to the FIA Formula One World Championship in accordance with Articles 8.1 and 8.2 of the 2018 Formula One Sporting Regulations. This means the team will race this weekend at the Belgian Grand Prix.
“Since the Force India Formula One Team Limited was placed into administration on 27 July, the FIA has worked in collaboration with the Joint Administrators (Geoff Rowley and Jason Baker of FRP Advisory LLP), Racing Point UK Limited and Formula One Management to ensure the expedient and compliant transition of the team’s assets to the new entrant. This successful process has protected motor sport competition at the highest level, as well as the jobs of over 400 employees.
“Following a disciplinary investigation and prosecution by the FIA under Article 4 of the FIA’s Judicial and Disciplinary Rules, the Sahara Force India F1 Team has accepted its exclusion from the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship with immediate effect, due to its incapacity to comply with Article 8.2 of the Sporting Regulations moving forward, and forfeits all Constructors Championship points under Article 6.2.
“The Joint Administrators of Force India Formula One Team Limited have completed the sale of the business and its assets to Racing Point UK Limited, the investment consortium led by Lawrence Stroll and the team’s senior management.
FIA President Jean Todt said: “I am very pleased that a strong, positive outcome has been reached and welcome the mid-season entry of Racing Point Force India. Creating an environment of financial stability in Formula One is one of the key challenges faced by the sport, however thanks to the hard work of the FIA, the Joint Administrators, Racing Point and Formula One Management we have a situation now that safeguards the future for all of the highly-talented employees, and will maintain the fair and regulated championship competition for the second half of the season.”
Formula 1 Chairman and CEO Chase Carey said: “We are very pleased that the situation around Racing Point Force India has been resolved and that the team will continue to race in Formula 1.
“It is also very gratifying that in partnership with the stakeholders involved we have been able to safeguard the livelihoods of the many hundreds of people working at its Silverstone base.
“It’s enormously important that we have a full grid of competitive, capable teams in Formula 1 and we are confident that Racing Point Force India will go from strength to strength in the future.”
Joint Administrator Geoff Rowley said: “This has been a complex process, but as a result of following a detailed and thorough procedure we have achieved a successful outcome. Under its new ownership, the team will now be able to operate to its full potential and its future is secured.”
Racing Point Force India today welcomed the FIA’s decision, which enables the team to race this weekend at the Belgian Grand Prix.
Team Principal and Chief Executive Officer of Racing Point UK Limited, Otmar Szafnauer, said: “The new Racing Point Force India Team is delighted to be able to race when the championship resumes in Belgium this weekend.
“This heralds a new and exciting chapter for us. Just a few weeks ago, an uncertain future lay ahead, with more than 400 jobs at risk; now the new team has the backing of a consortium of investors, led by Lawrence Stroll, who believe in us as a team, in our expertise and in our potential to achieve success on the track.
“We are grateful to the FIA, the Joint Administrators and Formula One Management for their support in helping us achieve such a welcome outcome and ultimately, we trust, for the sport and its many fans.”
Stroll added: “On Monday I stood in front of the workforce at Silverstone and Brackley and applauded the achievements of this team in recent years. The strength of any company is the people that make it up and it’s a huge privilege to begin this exciting new journey with such a talented group of men and women.
“I’ve been fortunate to establish and grow a number of successful businesses, but the opportunity to take this team forward to the next level is perhaps the most exciting challenge yet.
“Together with my fellow shareholders, we will invest in new resources and bring fresh energy to empower the workforce to continue racing at the very highest level. We are all passionate about motor racing; we recognise the racers’ spirit in Force India, and we are extremely motivated to make this team even more special in the years ahead.”