Force India justifies deference given over prize money

Otmar Szafnauer (USA) Sahara Force India F1 Chief Operating Officer. Malaysian Grand Prix, Friday 22nd March 2013. Sepang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Haas F1 has intimated that it would like clarification as to why it had to wait two years to start receiving column one prize money on points earned as a new entrant while Force India, now considered a new entrant under new ownership, gets to retain column one prize earnings and accumulate points toward that goal. It’s a good question and as Autosport reports, Force India has an answer:

“I understand why a new entrant needs to finish in the top 10 for two years in a row, to start getting column 1,” team boss Otmar Szafnauer told Autosport.

“In the past when teams would enter, not really have the resources to enter and then be in for a bit and out, and in, Bernie [Ecclestone] didn’t want that.

“He wanted 10 solid teams. So, Bernie thought, ‘right, if you can survive for two years without money from me, then the third year when you do get money from me then there is no question that you can survive’. That is why he did it for new entrants.

“This team has been racing for [over] 25 years. It is not a new entrant. There is no question of survival going forward.

“So that bit of it doesn’t really apply. Not to mention 25 years ago when it entered [originally as Jordan] it probably had to do that. So why do it twice?”

If you are Gene Haas, if that justification enough? If the normal procedure and regulations have always been that new teams must wait two seasons before earning prize money, is the justification compelling enough to break precedent and show special dispensation for Force India?

The one statement about there being no question of survival going forward is an interesting one in that the entire reason we are in this situation is that the team, with private investors, was not surviving. It now has new private investors and while I would certainly concede the fact that Otmar know infinitely more about the situation than I do, I am also aware that private investment groups such as Genii Capital, Mallya, Jordan and others have come and gone.

Hat Tip: Autosport

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Fred Daniell

I am a bit confused by Gene Haas’ comments. Didn’t it require ALL teams to sign agreement to allow Force India to be eligible for these funds? If Haas signed on then why are they now complaining??

Alianora La Canta

There’s currently an argument going on about that – apparently the FIA did it wrong, and there may be multiple versions of the agreement going round. It’s not even clear if all teams knew they were voting on the same measure. That would make the vote invalid and require a re-run.

Tom Firth

Hmm that sounds like someone regrets giving the approval to me.


Haas had the option to buy an existing team’s entry (both Force India and Toro Rosso were looking for buyers at the time and possibly Sauber). If he did that he would have been able to keep the prize money from day one. He chose to start from scratch. It seems a bit late to start complaining about that fact now.

Tom Firth

Agreed! Though he couldn’t have done his Ferrari esq deal that way and they’d of become surely worse off? Still your point is correct.


It’s a joke that RPFI loses their points and can’t even change their name. I hope they continue with results like Spa and ascend back ahead of all of the teams that refused to sign.

It appears likely that Ocon will be left out in the cold through all of this. If Haas wants to prove themselves as a real player and not a typical also ran, they need to do whatever it takes to upgrage RoGro with Ocon or Perez.


Has anyone else noticed that the F1 website still has RPFI as having 0 points following Spa?


This is leftover financial maneuvering from the Bernie days, keeping teams in F1 by withholding their constructor points money until the next season.

Tom Firth

Well I think it justifies why Racing point gets the money straight away. They’d of all complained like hell if a brand new team as Haas was had come in and instantly been given a chunk of the base level FOM revenue then folded instantly taking a chunk of revenue with them. As it turns out, Haas has been rather good but it may not have been. This is a different situation to that, this is basically one team buying another out via administrators and by the sounds of it, the FIA did a lot of due diligence on Force… Read more »