Last year was a good year for Force India. This year isn’t. After finishing “best of the rest” in 2017, the little team that could has fallen prey to the big owner that didn’t in Vijay Mallya. The troubled Indian team owner is facing a series of tax issues in India and now the team is facing a wind—up order in British courts soon.
All of this is the detail…the chaos and tragedy that belies a team that, apart from the financial drama, is helmed by some of the paddock’s top racers. If getting a Mercedes engine was the answer to all your problems and a sure way to the front, Williams F1 would be battling for top 5 results but that isn’t the case and nor was it for Force India. No, they had to earn their points the hard way by pairing the grid’s best engine with a strong chassis and healthy aerodynamic package.
That has all been done for the past few seasons on a limited budget and an owner on the run. How does a team manage to participate in the Formula 1 world championship, finish best of the rest and do so with an anemic budget and owner that can’t leave the UK for fear of extradition to India? It’s nothing short of commendable.
Force India chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer says the team needs new investment ahead of a winding-up petition.
Force India’s driver, Sergio Perez, said the situation was “critical” on Thursday after a hearing by HM Courts & Tribunal Service in Britain.
Force India has been the team “most likely to sell” in recent months but it has been said that Mallya’s asking price was too high. Regardless, it is now circulating that Lawrence Stroll may be buying/investing in the team even though he has a stake in Williams F1. Szafnauer said: “I think it’s imminent.
“I know there’s discussions going on in the background and I’m not privy to those because it’s a shareholder issue.
“I’m not a shareholder otherwise I would know more. It will be very soon.”
It’s a real shame and I hope the team doesn’t just get an investor but a completely new owner with serious aspirations for F1—similar to Haas F1. The team and its personnel are too good to let drift into F1 antiquity. They’ve shown the ability to do more with less and overcome competitive adversity but in the end, you have to have some cash to keep the lights on so let’s hope it materializes soon.
Hat Tip: Autosport