There must have been a collective sigh of relief over the Silverstone area last week when the 405 employees of Force India were given the news that the team had agreed to a deal allowing it to come out of administration.
It was late July when Sergio Perez commenced administration proceedings – a clever move to prevent a winding up petition from another creditor being enforced and giving the team the time required to find new investors.
It was Canadian Lawrence Stroll that led the bid to put the team back on a winning path and a secure a long term future.
Joining Stroll in the investment are his business partner Silas Chou, telecommunications investor John McCaw Jnr, Jonathan Dudman of Monaco Sports and Management, John Idol fashion business leader Michael de Picciotto and Canadian businessman Andre Desmarais.
Chief operations officer for Force India, Otmar Szafnauer, was quoted as saying: “This outcome secures the future of the Force India team in Formula 1 and will allow our team of racers to compete to our full potential.”
FRP Advisory administrator, Geoff Rowley, said: “All creditors will be paid in full, all jobs will be preserved and the team will have significant funding to invest in its future. Funding to support the team will be made available from today and significantly more will be available once the company emerges from administration which we expect within the next two to three weeks.”
It’s good news for the team that carried the title of “best of the rest” for several seasons, but it opens up the driver market even further.
It seems logical that Lance Stroll, son of Lawrence, will be moving to a new home at Silverstone, but who will he replace?
Perez has assisted the team with his administration move, which perhaps earned him some loyalty points with management.
So it could be Esteban Ocon who is moving on.
As a Mercedes contracted driver, I am sure Toto Wolff would have a move in mind.
The biggest problem as far as I am concerned is the plight of Williams. The loss of Stroll would presumably mean the loss of a large slice of income for the team, estimated at $25 million to $30 million per season.
It is unlikely that Stroll senior will continue his investment with the Grove team.
Then the news that Martini will be withdrawing support from the end of 2018 strikes yet another blow to the team.
With the current performance of the car it is likely that Williams will have to be open to another driver bringing a package to boost finances.
It would probably be a younger driver as, sadly, on current form the team is unlikely to be on many top drivers’ wish list.