SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium (Reuters) – The renamed Force India Formula One team will start from zero at this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix after being stripped of their constructors’ championship points and accepted as a new mid-season entry.
Formula One F1 – Belgian Grand Prix – Spa-Francorchamps, Stavelot, Belgium – August 23, 2018 General view of the Force India garage ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
The governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) said in a statement that Mexican Sergio Perez and Frenchman Esteban Ocon will keep their points.
The new team, controlled by a consortium led by Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll, will be called Racing Point Force India.
Otmar Szafnauer has been appointed principal, with former deputy principal Bob Fernley departing.
Force India were previously sixth in the championship.
“The Sahara Force India F1 Team has accepted its exclusion from the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship with immediate effect…and forfeits all Constructors’ Championship points,” the FIA said.
“The joint administrators…have completed the sale of the business and its assets to Racing Point UK Limited, the investment consortium led by Lawrence Stroll and the team’s senior management.”
Force India, co-owned by financially troubled Indian magnate Vijay Mallya, went into administration at the end of July with a rescue deal announced on Aug. 7.
While that secured the survival of the team, legal complications led to speculation they might be unable to race at Spa this weekend.
Media reports indicated that while Stroll had purchased the physical assets, including the cars and factory, ownership of the entry that confers the right to race had yet to be transferred.
The old team’s exclusion from the championship will also carry a significant financial cost for the team and a bonus for others, with prize money calculated by the championship standings over several seasons.
“I am very pleased that a strong, positive outcome has been reached and welcome the mid-season entry of Racing Point Force India,” said FIA president Jean Todt.
“Creating an environment of financial stability in Formula One is one of the key challenges faced by the sport,” added the Frenchman.
“We have a situation now that safeguards the future for all of the highly-talented employees, and will maintain the fair and regulated championship competition for the second half of the season.”
Szafnauer said the agreement was the start of a new chapter for a Silverstone-based team that has been through many incarnations since starting out as the now-defunct Jordan.
“Just a few weeks ago, an uncertain future lay ahead, with more than 400 jobs at risk,” said the Romanian-born American.
“Now the new team has the backing of a consortium of investors, led by Lawrence Stroll, who believe in us as a team, in our expertise and in our potential to achieve success on the track.”
Reporting by Alan Baldwin; editing by Ed Osmond