Running a Formula One team is no shoe-string affair. It requires money, and lots of it. More, it seems, than Force India has on hand.
According to the latest reports circling the paddock (like this one from Autosport), the Force India team has gone bankrupt and been placed under administration by a court in London.
Apparently the team has had trouble locating the financial resources to invest in essential mid-season updates to its cars, pay Mercedes for its engine package, or even compensate its driver Sergio Perez.
The development follows legal troubles suffered by the team’s owner Vijay Mallya, who is wanted in his home country for fraud and money laundering, and has placed himself on a self-imposed travel ban to prevent extradition. As the team has traveled to races around the world, Mallya has had to leave its operation to deputies.
The liquor/airline mogul and former parliamentarian bought the team in 2007 from Spyker. Before that it ran under the Midland flag after more than two decades as Jordan Grand Prix. The outfit has found more success in recent years as Force India than it did as Spyker or Midland, finishing the last two seasons at fourth place in the championship – but has yet to match the third place that Jordan finished in the 1999 world championship with Damon Hill and Heinz-Harald Frenzen behind the wheel.
Bankruptcy May Prove Temporary
Force India is not the first F1 team to go belly-up in recent years. Manor went bankrupt in 2016, Caterham in 2014, and HRT in 2012. None of those ended up being acquired and rebranded, but that doesn’t mean that Force India will disappear from the grid.
Among those who’ve been touted as potential buyers is billionaire Canadian fashion mogul Lawrence Stroll, who owns the Mont Tremblant circuit in his home Canadian province of Quebec, as well as a considerable collection of Ferraris. He’s also supported his son Lance’s ascent to Formula One, currently driving for Williams and winning the Italian F4 and European F3 championships along the way. If the elder Stroll does indeed end up acquiring (and likely renaming) the Force India team, nobody would be surprised to see his son sign with it for future seasons.