FORMULA 1 MOTORSPORT NEWS

FORCE INDIA F1 SAVED FROM BANKRUPTCY BY RIVAL DRIVER’S FATHER

In administration since the Friday of the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend, Stroll has rescued all 405 jobs within the Force India organization and guaranteed its funding for the foreseeable future.

The consortium includes the elder Stroll, business partner Silas Chou, Canadian entrepreneur Andre Desmarais, Jonathan Dudman of Monaco Sports and Management, fashion business leader John Idol, telecommunications investor John McCaw Jr. and financial expert Michael de Picciotto.

That group will immediately take ownership of the team from Vijay Mallya and Orange India Holdings Sarl.

“This outcome secures the future of the Force India team in Formula 1 and will allow our team of racers to compete to our full potential,” said chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer. “I am delighted that we have the support of a consortium of investors who believe in us as a team and who see the considerable business potential that Force India has within F1 now and in the future.

“At Force India, our expertise and commitment has meant that we have always punched above our weight, and this new investment ensures that we have a bright future ahead of us. I also would like to thank Vijay, the Sahara Group and the Mol family for all of their support and taking the team as far as their circumstances would allow.”

With existing debts, the largest of which are owed to driver Sergio Perez and power unit supplier Mercedes, expected to be paid in full in the coming weeks, the team can now look forward to being able to develop their 2018 car with their fortunes looking considerably brighter than they were just a few days ago.

Joint administrator Geoff Rowley said that Force India have been incredibly fortunate in their short-lived search for new investment.

“It is rare that a company can be rescued and returned to a position of solvency,” said Rowley. “The quality of the various interested parties has been impressive and required careful consideration as the administration has progressed.

“Having followed a robust process, in the end we were left with a highly-credible offer to save the company and restore solvency. Funding to support the team will be made available from today, and significantly more will be available once the company emerges from administration which we expect within the next two to three weeks.”

One of the first tasks that the new ownership will face is to decide on the driver line-up for 2019.

Obviously, with his father now the man in charge at Force India, Lance Stroll will be the favorite to take a seat but what of existing drivers Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon?

Ocon had been in the frame for a drive at Renault but now that Daniel Ricciardo has that seat, the most likely scenarios are that Ocon will remain with Perez taking his considerable budget to Williams or should Perez be the driver kept at the team, Ocon will move to Haas with Romain Grosjean possibly exiting the sport.

Source: Autoweek. Image: LAT photography