Formula One: Force India's future safe after Stroll-led rescue

Force India's Sergio Perez during practice at the Hungarian Grand Prix, on July 27, 2018.
Force India's Sergio Perez during practice at the Hungarian Grand Prix, on July 27, 2018.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • The Force India Formula One team will come out of administration after a rescue deal involving a consortium of investors led by Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll, said administrators and management in a statement on Tuesday.

They added that creditors would be paid in full and all 405 jobs at the Silverstone-based team, that was co-owned by embattled Indian businessman Vijay Mallya and finished fourth last year, were safe.

Stroll is the father of Williams Formula One driver Lance.

Apart from Stroll, the investors were named as Canadian entrepreneur Andre Desmarais, Jonathan Dudman, John Idol, telecoms investor John McCaw Jr, Michael de Picciotto and Stroll's business partner Silas Chou.

"This outcome secures the future of the Force India team in Formula One and will allow our team of racers to compete to our full potential," said the team's chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer. "I am delighted that we have the support of a consortium of investors who believe in us as a team and who see the considerable business potential that Force India have within F1 now and in the future."

Force India's driver line-up is Mexican Sergio Perez and Mercedes-backed Frenchman Esteban Ocon but Lance Stroll, 19, looks likely to move from Williams next season, given his father's involvement.

Joint administrator Geoff Rowley said funding to support the team would be made available immediately with "significantly more" once the company emerged from administration.

He expected that to be within two to three weeks, with the team set to compete at the next race in Belgium on Aug 26.

"It is rare that a company can be rescued and returned to a position of solvency," Rowley said in the statement. "The quality of the various interested parties has been impressive and required careful consideration as the administration has progressed.

"Having followed a robust process, in the end we were left with a highly credible offer to save the company and restore solvency."

The team went into administration at the end of last month, with Perez triggering the process.

The Mexican had said he was owed more than US$4 million (S$5.5 million) as part of sponsorship deals brought to the team, while engine provider Mercedes was due some €13 million (S$20.6 million). Leading sponsor BWT was also involved.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 09, 2018, with the headline 'Force India's future safe after Stroll-led rescue'. Print Edition | Subscribe