If things weren’t difficult enough for Force India, having three teams seek to exclude you from the prize money you won in 2016 and 2017 is like lemon juice on a fresh cut. Unfortunately, that seems to be the case and like all things in Formula 1, it’s politics, cash and control first, racing last.
If queried, I doubt there would be many fans who would agree that due to being placed in administration should result in the loss of their prize money as this is needed to keep the asking price reasonable for the team and keep the doors open. They want this team on the wall! They need this team on the wall!
According to Autosport, McLaren, Renault and Williams all refused to sign an agreement that would allow Force India to retain their prize money even though the act of emerging from administration considers the team as a “new” team and not eligible for prize money.
Contracts are contracts and in keeping with the letter of the law, they are within their right to not sign the document that F1’s Chase Carey was placing before team owners with some expediency in his step. The series and stakeholders would like this wrapped up before the Belgian Grand Prix in a few weeks.
I suggested in the past that Mercedes were keen to have their own Haas F1 team such as the kind Ferrari enjoys. When I read that, I immediately thought of Force India as a more viable alternative than Williams F1 because Claire and Sir Frank aren’t about to give anyone the keys. Rumors had it that Force India owner, Vijay Mallya, wanted too much money for the team and this is why driver Sergio Perez (with Mercedes and BWT backing) filed the claim that put the team into administration.
You can insinuate that perhaps Mercedes is behind this to get the team unlocked from Mallya’s iron grip and silly asking price in order to make a run at it as part of a consortium or an outright owner. Mercedes has said they are simply bystanders in the proceedings but the Autosport article suggests that McLaren, Renault and Williams did not sign the document due to their concern over Mercedes and the control they currently have over F1.
Where do you land on this issue? Rules are rules? Contracts are contracts or do you think these three teams are being very harsh with their lack of endorsement? Do you think Mercedes is orchestrating a takeover behind the scenes or are they innocent bystanders as the claim?
Hat Tip: Autosport