Lawrence Stroll has outlined his intention to bring Racing Point Force India back to the top four of the Constructors’ Championship, following the confirmation of his successful takeover of the Sahara Force India F1 Team.
A Stroll-led consortium completed the deal last month and today received permission from the FIA to compete at the upcoming Belgian Grand Prix, as well as the rest of the 2018 season. However, Force India will start with no points – the old team excluded from the championship – with just nine rounds of the season remaining.
In a statement released this evening, Stroll said that he praised the recent work carried about by the 400+ strong squad, based in Silverstone and Brackley, labelling the opportunity to lead a “talented group” as “a huge privilege”.
“On Monday I stood in front of the workforce at Silverstone and Brackley and applauded the achievements of this team in recent years,” Stroll said.
“The strength of any company is the people that make it up and it’s a huge privilege to begin this exciting new journey with such a talented group of men and women.”
Stroll called the task ahead his “most exciting challenge yet” and revealed his and his fellow shareholders plans to invest in new resources for the team and to “bring fresh energy” to the existing workforce.
“I’ve been fortunate to establish and grow a number of successful businesses, but the opportunity to take this team forward to the next level is perhaps the most exciting challenge yet,” the Canadian billionaire added.
“Together with my fellow shareholders, we will invest in new resources and bring fresh energy to empower the workforce to continue racing at the very highest level.
“We are all passionate about motor racing; we recognise the racers’ spirit in Force India, and we are extremely motivated to make this team even more special in the years ahead.”
It is understood that Stroll’s son, Lance, may make the move from Williams Martini Racing to the re-branded Force India as early as next weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, presumably in place of Sergio Pérez.
With former team principal Robert Fernley leaving the team with immediate effect today, ex-chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer receives a promotion to Fernley’s old role alongside a new berth as chief executive officer. The Romanian-American thanked the staff for their “resolve and loyalty” in the period of administration and transition.
Szafnauer called this time a chance to focus fully on racing again, in a difficult year for the team in both guises on and off the track, and emphasised the importance of stability in the senior management of the team.
“As we return from the summer break and prepare for the upcoming Belgian Grand Prix, I want to thank all the staff for their resolve and loyalty during the period of transition,” he said. “Now that we are under new ownership and the future of the team is secure, we can focus on doing what we do best – going racing.
“We have a great management team in place and this stability will be extremely valuable as we begin the new era. I would like to thank Bob Fernley for his contribution to the success of this team over the last ten years and recognise the support of the previous shareholders for making Force India what it is today.”