Lawrence Stroll-led group saves Force India from administration

Image by Mauger/LAT

Lawrence Stroll-led group saves Force India from administration

Formula 1

Lawrence Stroll-led group saves Force India from administration

An investment consortium headed by Lawrence Stroll, father of Williams driver Lance Stroll, has saved Sahara Force India from administration after administrators for the team accepted the group’s bid.

Joint administrator Geoff Rowley said in a statement that under the terms of the agreement signed Tuesday, the new investors will pay all creditors in full and secure all 405 team jobs.

“It is rare that a company can be rescued and returned to a position of solvency,” Rowley said.

“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. 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.”

Force India chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer worked with the administrators to find new investors.

“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,” Szafnauer said. “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 has within F1 now and in the future.

“At Force India, our expertise and commitment has meant that we have always punched above our weight and this new investment ensures that we have a bright future ahead of us. I also would like to thank Vijay, the Sahara Group and the Mol family for all of their support and taking the team as far as their circumstances would allow.”

Sergio Perez, talks with Force India technical director Andrew Green. (Image by Bloxham/LAT)

Driver Sergio Perez, who is owed millions in salary, triggered legal action that placed Force India in administration on July 27 in light of worsening financial struggles, as owner Vijay Mallya fights extradition to India to face fraud charges.

“I should not really like to be involved in this, because at the end of the day, I’m just a driver, and I’m just here to drive,” an emotional Perez said one day later. “I tried to focus but then it got too much. I was asked by a couple of members of the team to go ahead and save the team and protect the 400 people who were working there.”

While he was able to trigger the proceedings based on money owed him, Perez said he acted not for the money, but because he was asked to step in.

“Monies due are from last year,” he said in late July. “The thing is, there was a winding up petition from another customer, which would have closed down the team completely. Therefore I was asked to save the team, to pull the trigger and put the team into administration. It was nothing to do with my outstanding amounts. The only reason I have done it was to save the team and for the better future for the team.

“Personally, I love Vijay, my heart is broken because I know this is not ideal in the short term for him. But the big picture is really different. I have gone through a very difficult moment emotionally more than mentally. For me, it’s been hard the position I’ve been put in.”

–Additional reporting by Chris Medland

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