Force India saved by Stroll consortium

Wednesday, 08 august 2018, 04:16 , by Matthew Scott

Force India have agreed a deal with the billionaire father of Williams driver Lance Stroll in order to take the team out of administration and save all 405 jobs at the Silverstone-based squad. The deal is likely to see Canadian Stroll line up for the team next year, alongside either Esteban Ocon or Sergio Perez.

Amid spiralling debts, Force India were put into administration on the Friday of the Hungarian Grand Prix, prompted by action taken by Perez, who later revealed he had been forced to take action to avoid staff losing their jobs.

As many as five parties were reportedly interested in buying the team after control was taken out of Vijay Mallya's hands, but it is a consortium which includes Stroll that has struck an exclusivity agreement.

According to a statement from administrators: "The company will be able to exit from administration, the creditors will be paid in full, all jobs will be secured, and ongoing funding guaranteed.

"As a result of today's deal Force India fans can be assured the team will be competing for points at the Belgium Grand Prix which takes place on 26th August."

Force India COO Otmar Szafnauer added: "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.

"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."

Despite their financial woes, Force India finished fourth in the constructors' championship in each of the past two seasons. They are currently sixth, but are the only team outside of the 'big three' of Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull to have scored a podium in 2018 thanks to Perez's third-place finish in Azerbaijan.

The make-up of their 2019 driver line-up now becomes intriguing. It is widely expected that Stroll Sr securing a deal would see his son step up, leaving a choice between the well-sponsored Perez or Ocon, on loan from engine supplier Mercedes.

Ocon had been tipped to leave for Renault, but Daniel Ricciardo's signing at the French team has blocked his path.

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