Force India gets kicked while they’re down

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

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Hmm, I can’t remember, was Mercedes considered a ‘new’ team when they bought Brawn GP? How about when Renault bought Lotus?


No, see this here is the new boss. He is a bit different from the old boss. For awhile, anyway. Till he’s been schooled. And he’s about to get schooled, I do believe.


And everyone wonders why nothing gets done inside Strategy Group meetings. Both McLaren and Williams should be more lenient towards Force India. Without a title team sponsor(Williams will lose theirs at the end of the season) and lacking primary engine supplies from Renault and Merc, they both may find themselves in a similar financial situation in the future. To me, it’s all fairly petty since Force India was the best team outside the Big 3 in 2017. FI earned that money-let them have it!

Frank McHugh

When Manor went into administration Force india’s Bob fenley was the first to object to manor receiving any prize money as he wanted force india to get a bigger share ,
So what goes around comes around , .
I only wish that some F1 journalists would remind him of that .


Rules are rules, business is business, sorry.

Tim C.

These three organizations certainly have the right to do what they did. However, are they willing to accept any consequences that occur due to Force India’s demise? F1 needs teams to survive. Chase Carey and his crew may end up having to keep this team afloat whether they like it or not. Will be interesting to see how this all plays out.


I don’t think that Williams, McLaren and Renault are trying to prevent the sale of Force India, just limit the influence of Ferrari and Mercedes.
If Force India becomes a Mercedes B-team, then there could be effectively four Ferrari’s (including Haas) and four Mercedes on the grid, meaning that the best Williams, McLaren and Renault can hope for is ninth or tenth place (lower if Honda get their PU competitive).

Tom Firth

Agreed, that is what Renault are objecting over but I wonder if it isn’t after doing the exact same thing as Mercedes are seemingly trying and making Force India into a Renault B team. If it isn’t then Renault should try and poach Williams who seem more open than ever to the idea of external gearbox/engine supply which indicates their current Mercedes deal is up for renewal or at least renegotiation. That way it can match the other 3 with having an A and B team, as effectively Honda will too with both Red Bull and Toro Rosso supply. All… Read more »


If LM have to come in and save FI, that will also reduce the overall money available to the remaining teams.


F1 has got the ‘piranha pool’ nickname for good reason (thanks Tom Firth for the reference).
Lets hope that these power plays don’t end up with one less team on the grid, I can’t see that outcome being anyone’s long term interests.

J Toolan

Wouldn’t it be nice to have the old style garagistas(think that’s spelling) back in F1, to much money and politics not enough racing. And if Fernley said that in previous times about manor got to be live by the sword die by the sword?


I agree with you, but sadly the sport has been conned into the idea that it must have the car manufacturers. I find this silly because if you believe what they say about self-driving cars, the car companies will abandon the sport sooner rather than later.


If one wishes McLaren, Renault, and Williams to be nice for the “good of the sport”, then you have to give them a financial or competitive reason to do so.

Tom Firth

Morally yes for Force India’s personnel, the next owner should be entitled to the prize money meant for the current team but these arguments always happen whenever an F1 team is struggling and have for years and F1 doesn’t have an awful lot of sentimentality in some respects once a team is bust. It does right up until then, offering motorhome space etc for Lotus showed that. In 2002, Arrows, Minardi and McLaren fought over money that would have gone to Prost had it not gone bust. The Prost money eventually went to Minardi as Phoenix fell through and the… Read more »


So if Force India don’t get the prize money, where will it go? Back into the F1 coffers? Distributed amongst the other teams?


If Force India are sold as a going concern and they keep the same name, then they get the prize money. It is only if the company folds (or they change name without the agreement of the other teams) that they lose it. In that case, under Bernie’s rule the money would be retained by the commercial rights holder (but those below in the championship would all move up one place).