The FIA have given Racing Point Force India permission to race at this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, following the successful takeover by a consortium led by Lawrence Stroll.
After discussions between the team’s owners and the FIA this week, the team will be allowed to compete in the remaining nine rounds of the 2018 World Championship. However, all 59 points scored by the team in its Sahara Force India F1 Team guise have been voided, leaving the new setup to start from nothing – ending all chances of a third successive top four finish in the Constructors’ Championship.
Earlier today, it was announced that the former team principal, Robert Fernley, will leave the team with immediate effect. His role has been assumed by chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer.
The team arrived at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps with unbranded trucks, motorhomes and hospitality unit, but with the same drivers. Esteban Ocon is believed to be safe for 2019 following doubts over his future, but Sergio Pérez reportedly faces a nervy wait to see whether he is replaced by Lance Stroll as early as the Italian Grand Prix next week.
In the wake of the decision, Szafnauer said: “The new team is delighted to be able to race when the championship resumes in Belgium this weekend.
“This heralds a new and exciting chapter for us,” he continued.
“Just a few weeks ago, an uncertain future lay ahead, with more than 400 jobs at risk; now the new team has the backing of a consortium of investors, led by Lawrence Stroll, who believe in us as a team, in our expertise and in our potential to achieve success on the track.”
FIA President Jean Todt expressed his pleasure in seeing the issue resolved and the championship continue after its summer break with 10 teams.
“I am very pleased that a strong, positive outcome has been reached and welcome the mid-season entry of Racing Point Force India,” he said.
“Creating an environment of financial stability in Formula One is one of the key challenges faced by the sport, however thanks to the hard work of the FIA, the Joint Administrators, Racing Point and Formula One Management we have a situation now that safeguards the future for all of the highly-talented employees, and will maintain the fair and regulated championship competition for the second half of the season.”
Despite the upheaval, it is believed that the majority of sponsors, including BWT – responsible for the vivid pink livery introduced last year, have stayed with the team. Previous title sponsor and Indian conglomerate Sahara parted ways with the team on Monday.