By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
The FIA have approved the mid-season entry of Racing Point Force India Formula 1 Team ahead of this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps. The colors remain the same, however, the change in names also means that Sahara Force India is loses all its constructors points and is prohibited from competing in the Formula 1 World Championship.
A rebirth prevented that threat, as the Lawerence Stroll-led and newly branded Racing Point Force India is set to make their Formula 1 debut, bearing the colors pink, white and blue. However, they’ve been stripped of all 59 Constructors’ Championship points and currently sits last in the standings.
Force India was sitting in sixth (Sergio Perez with 30 points and Esteban Ocon with 29), but the drastic changes moves McLaren, Toro Rosso, Sauber and Williams up one spot. Despite starting from scratch, they’re eligible to score points for the final nine rounds of the season.
The decision also led deputy team boss Bob Fernley, who’s been involved with the team since 2008, to leave the team effective immediately.
All changes aside, Stroll remained optimistic, and stated it’s a privilege beginning a new chapter, and intends to invest on new resources that’ll propel Racing Point Force India to be a race-winning team.
“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,” said Stroll.
“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.”
The announcement comes a week after the new ownership was finalized on August 16, securing the team’s future after Perez tried saving the 10-year-old team from bankruptcy Friday before the Hungarian Grand Prix last month.
As a result of Perez’s actions, the team were put under administration until August 7 when a a consortium was made to not just keep the team on the F1 grid, but all 405 employees keeping their jobs, guaranteed funding, and creditors being paid in full.
Racing Point’s Team Principal and CEO Otmar Szafnauer thanked his entire staff and Fernley for sticking together during a dramatic summer break.
“As we return from the summer break and prepare for the upcoming Belgian Grand Prix, I want to thank all the staff for their resolve and loyalty during the period of transition,” said Szafnauer.
“Now that we are under new ownership and the future of the team is secure, we can focus on doing what we do best – going racing. We have a great management team in place and this stability will be extremely valuable as we begin the new era.
“I would like to thank Bob for his contribution to the success of this team over the last ten years and recognise the support of the previous shareholders for making Force India what it is today.”