Force India has been allowed to keep its prize money from previous seasons despite becoming a new entrant in this year’s championship after approval from the other nine teams on the grid.
After Sahara Force India went into administration, the assets were purchased by a consortium led by Lawrence Stroll, effectively setting up a new team. The FIA approved Racing Point Force India as a new entrant this weekend for the rest of the season, replacing the previous Force India team and therefore losing all of its constructors’ championship points.
Such a change was likely to see the team lose the prize money share it was entitled to from previous seasons, but new team principal Otmar Szafnauer clarified on Friday: “The remaining nine teams have signed a document that enables us to keep the money that Sahara Force India had earned in years past.”
While Racing Point Force India is a new entrant, the team will continue from the position the former outfit was in prior to the summer break in all aspects but for points scored.
“I think the biggest consequence is the fact that we start from zero points, so we forego the 49 points because those belong to Sahara Force India which is not an entrant anymore,” Szafnauer added. “We’re a new entrant — we start from zero.
“We’ll do the best we can to score as many points as we can in the remaining races and see where we end up at the end of the season. That will determine some of the prize fund for the following year.
“As far as engine allocation goes, we had confirmation today from Charlie [Whiting] that we will continue with the engine allocation and gearbox allocation as if we never ceased racing, so I think in his eyes, that was the most fair thing to do vis-a-vis the other teams. That’s how we’re going to go forward.”
Szafnauer explains the team name remains largely the same for this season in order to avoid confusion for fans and ensure it is clear it is the same cars, personnel and facilities running as a new entry.
“I think the reason is that we started the year with Force India as our chassis name. Formula 1 and the FIA, they don’t like chassis name changes, and I understand why because it confuses the fans. We thought it was prudent to keep Force India for the fans. The car’s still pink, we have the same sponsors, we still have the same drivers, we have the same motorhome, we still have the same employees. You look at us and we’re exactly the same.
“I think it would have been confusing to remove Force India. Racing Point was added in front of Force India instead of Sahara — we were Sahara Force India before, that was just so we can distinguish between the old and the new.
“Racing Point just so happens to be the name of the company in the United Kingdom that own the assets. That’s the only reason for Racing Point being there. But the chassis name remains Force India, and I think from a fan perspective, that’s the right thing.”