Force India becomes Racing Point; Fernley and prize money gone

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:


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.”

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I wonder whats the story behind Bob Fernely’s departure?
Has Stroll got another son who’s ambition is to manage an F1 team?
Forza Force Nepotism!


Too aligned with Vijay?

Alianora La Canta

Bob and Vijay are friends from way back. I think that’s the story.


Silas Chou is the name of a Bond villian, right? I think you are messing with us.


This news saddens me. I can’t believe the FIA and a few other teams forced FI to forfeit their constructors’ point just to stay on the grid. That money is crucial to the team’s future regardless of its name change. If the sport’s power brokers ever wonder why there are no takers to future F1 team slots, they could look to this moment. And we’re about to watch the old auto racing joke play out in real life: how does a billionaire become a millionaire? Start a race team.


If they were willing to walk away from that much money probably means they have that much in reserve and can stand to lose it. I’m sure it hurts to do it, but they can afford it.

The key to this joke is to bury the lead.

“How do you make a million bucks in racing?”

Start with a billion.


Interesting point photogcw. We heard that Carey of L.M was trying to get the teams to agree to accept that the purchasers of FI would keep their full payments. It sounds like it was the teams who wouldn’t concede on that. Williams, Mclaren and Renault were mentioned, perhaps there were others who also stand to gain who opposed the idea. I don’t think the FIA ‘forced’ this on Racing Point F.I. I presume that what happened was just the application of the existing rules, probably rules developed by our old mate Bernie. You’ll recall when the FIA, under Mosely, opened… Read more »


Your memory is better than mine. To answer your question, I think one cancels out the other. I would like to see a bigger field but it would be more backmarkers on the track. The performance gap between the top 3 teams over the rest is gigantic and it has become a regular talking point all this season. But after this latest paddock soap opera, I don’t believe we will see any new teams(or manufacturers) entering F1 and my deathwatch on Racing Point Force India has begun.


Cheers photogcw,
Its interesting that perception about the gap to the top three, when this season it has closed up considerably.
I’m more optimistic and anticipate that L.M will be looking to make it easier for teams to enter F1. We know already that they’re pushing for a more even split of prize money, and a cost cap at midfield team budget level.
That said, my deathwatch is on Williams rather than F.I, they’re a mess at the moment :-(


So, who gets the points that they have lost? Are they just ‘lost’.
Who gets the prize money? Will it be distributed among the other teams? or will it be kept by the FIA?
If they change their name again at the end of the season and effectively become a new team again, will they lose any prize money they might earn from Spa onwards?
So many questions…..

Tom Firth

Points are entirely lost and not redistributed. Its like when McLaren was disqualified from the championship after Spygate and everyone else just got promoted one spot up the constructors table. In this case, McLaren and possibly Toro Rosso will benefit in column B performance prize money payment though as they’ll likely have been promoted one step higher up the constructors table. Sauber and Williams may not benefit dependent on the points gathered by Racing Point from now on out. It sounds like as a result of the arrangement today, Racing Point will receive the column A equal share FOM payment… Read more »

Tom Firth

Ignore the last line. Seems are getting last years payments too by the quote in NC’s new article.


I don’t know the reasons but I don’t get why they sacked Robert Fernley. Won’t improve morale among the workforce.

Ashwin Valluvan

Prize money hasn’t gone yet, it’s just that they will probably receive the previous years prize money, but will be moved to the prize distribution like Haas got for the next 2 years(2019 and 2020)


I just don’t get it, I guess. 1) Loss of points, I assume the drivers get to keep theirs. 2) Loss of prize money (although it looks like today there is a report that they get to keep the prize money) 3) PU element usage doesn’t reset I get the first two. But if the reasoning is that this is a new team I don’t get the 3rd one. The way the rule reads for PU usage is; 23.3c) If a driver is replaced at any time during the Championship season his replacement will be deemed to be the original… Read more »


I don’t think the regulations were written with late entry of a team in mind. Apparently there was no form available for Racing Point to apply for a late entry to the championship (even if the regulations allowed it). So it’s not surprising that the details of the PU regulations don’t account for the likelihood. As the team is unlikely to attract any grid penalties it is unlikely to be controversial, it would be a very different situation if Stroll and Co had bought Toro Rosso.