The Force India Formula 1 team has gone into administration following a hearing at the high court in London, amidst the rumour a possible buyer for the team has been found.
Chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer has confirmed to multiple people that the team is in administration following the meeting at the high court in London, though there is no official word yet from Force India in the form of a press release.
By calling in the administrators just before summer break Force India have effectively allowed themselves the chance to minimise disruption to their current operations, which will mean they can carry on racing for at least this weekend while the team conclude a deal with a new team owner. This may prove critical for the team who currently sit fifth in the Constructors Championship for this season.
Much of the talk for this weekend has been cantered around the financial state of the Silverstone based team after their driver Sergio Perez called the situation “critical” on Thursday night. The Mexican, who scored the team’s only podium of the season in Baku, went on to admit that the lack of funding had stalled development on this year’s car, as the team were unable to bring developments to their 2018 challenger like the rest of the grid have been.
It is understood that Brookstone Limited, the company that launched the legal proceedings against Force India that landed them in the high court, I owned by Perez’s management team as well as having links to Perez himself. Brookstone is seeking payments of over £3 million.
They are not the only company who currently want the money owed to them by Force India, as the application by Brookstone against Force India was supported notably by the team’s sponsor BWT, and the Mercedes group who the team get their race engines from. BWT claim that their sponsorship deal with Force India was in the form of a loan which the team have failed to pay back. While the Mercedes group are seeking payments of over £9 million.
Force India have been searching for a buyer for the team, with several names linked to the purchase of them. The main name linked with the team so far has been that of Lawrence Stroll, the father of Williams driver Lance Stroll. He is not the only father interested in Force India though as the father of Nikita Mazepin, the GP3 driver and Force India development driver, is also said to be interested in the team. Szafnauer said on Friday that he believed fresh investment in the team was “imminent”.
“I know there’s discussions going on in the background and I’m not privy to those because it’s a shareholder issue. I’m not a shareholder otherwise I would know more. It will be very soon.”