I’m unclear on the internal politics of an existing team acquisition but it seems there is a tremendous amount of pressure involved with the process this weekend and that may have just cost Lawrence Stroll and his investors some serious prize money as a “new team”.
According to its website, the team have been fast-tracked into existence to race at this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix. It will do so under the name Racing Point Force India F1 and I would imagine that, like Sauber in the past, eventually it will drop the Force India…we’ll see.
While the loss of prize money has to be a major blow to the team, the other change is the immediate departure of bob Fernley as Deputy Team Principal leaving Otmar Szafnauer as the team principal and CEO. Not sure I saw that change coming but I was very curious why all the press interviews and comments last week were from Otmar and no one was quoting Bob Fernley.
Official Press Release:
RACING POINT FORCE INDIA F1 TEAM WILL MAKE ITS DEBUT AT THIS WEEKEND’S BELGIAN GRAND PRIX FOLLOWING THE ACQUISITION OF THE FORCE INDIA FORMULA ONE TEAM BY RACING POINT UK LIMITED.
The new ownership was finalised on Thursday 16th of August with a consortium of investors led by Lawrence Stroll agreeing terms to secure the future of the team.
The investors are Canadian entrepreneur Andre Desmarais, Jonathan Dudman of Monaco Sports and Management, fashion business leader John Idol, telecommunications investor John McCaw Jr, financial expert Michael de Picciotto, businessman Lawrence Stroll and his business partner Silas Chou.
Racing Point UK Limited has appointed Otmar Szafnauer as Team Principal and CEO with immediate effect. Otmar has been with Force India since 2010 as Chief Operating Officer and has played a pivotal role in the team’s progress up the grid.
The team’s Deputy Team Principal, Robert Fernley, will stand down from his role. The remainder of the senior management team remains unchanged.
For the rest of the 2018 season the cars will compete as Racing Point Force India F1 Team in pink, white and blue.
Lawrence Stroll: “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.”
Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal and CEO: “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. 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 Fernley 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.”