FIA approves the renaming of Force India to Racing Point
The FIA has approved the renaming of the Force India team to Racing Point Racing ahead of this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix. On Wednesday, it was reported that the team based at Silverstone was working to create a new entry for this weekend’s race.
The team was brought earlier this month by a consortium led by Lawrence Stroll, the FIA has subsequently approved an all-new entry. However, it means that the team will lose all it constructors points and will start from zero, but drivers Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon will retain their driver’s points.
Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer said “The new Racing Point Force India 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. Just a few weeks ago, an uncertain future lay ahead, and in our potential to achieve success on the track.”
“We are grateful to the FIA, the Joint Administrators and Formula One Management for their support in helping us achieve such a welcome outcome and ultimately, we trust, for the sport and its many fans.”
In a joint statement by the FIA and Liberty Media, they both welcomed the move and were pleased that the situation at the team had been resolved.
FIA President Jean Todt added “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.”
F1 Chairman and CEO Chase Carey said: “We are very pleased that the situation around Racing Point Force India has been resolved and that the team will continue to race in Formula 1.”
“It is also very gratifying that in partnership with the stakeholders involved we have been able to safeguard the livelihoods of the many hundreds of people working at its Silverstone base. It’s enormously important that we have a full grid of competitive, capable teams.”
Racing Point Force India today welcomed the FIA’s decision, which enables the team to race this weekend at the Belgian Grand Prix.
Team Principal and Chief Executive Officer of Racing Point UK Limited, Otmar Szafnauer, said: “The new Racing Point Force India 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.”
“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.”
Perez expects business as usual
Sergio Perez says that he is expecting “business as usual” at this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, and says he is expecting that the team will be allowed to compete this weekend.
The Silverstone team was brought by the Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll earlier this month, however, Stroll doesn’t hold the F1 licence which means that the team faces not being able to compete this weekend. But the team are working with the FIA to try and resolve the problem.
Asked by Motorsport.com, if he had doubts about the team not being able to run this weekend, Perez said “As far as I’m concerned, no. So it’s business as usual.”
This weekend, now that the financial issues are resolved the team are bringing a number of upgrades. The Mexican says that the team is on a much stronger and stable position financially, which he hopes will deliver on-track performance.
He admitted that his future “has become more clear in the last weeks,” and stressed that he wasn’t waiting for any more developments at Force India.
“Actually everything is very much completed, so it’s just a matter of timing right now. I think there are other priorities than communicating what my future is, so we’re here racing focussing on Spa, and as I said it’s just a matter of time before I’m able to confirm.”
He also denied that the situation of Esteban Ocon, on the market after losing out on his expected Renault seat, had any influence on his plans: “It has zero impact on me.”
Hamilton and Vettel hint at engine changes
Title rivals Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have hinted that they could both move onto their final permitted power units for this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.
Both manufacturers have spent the summer break working to bring their third and final power unit upgrade, ahead of the power-hungry Italian Grand Prix. Next weekend’s race favours power units which deliver good straight-line speed.
However, neither team will be expected to announce the changes, that falls to the FIA in their power unit use list on Friday morning. However, the two four times champions have confirmed they are expecting to move onto the new engines this weekend.
Hamilton told the media, “Naturally every upgrade that we have and every opportunity there is for an upgrade is important. These are two big power circuits we’ve got these next two weekends.”
“This weekend I think they’ve got a new power unit, we will have a new power unit. So, it will be interesting to see how they fare with each other, but naturally, I’ve got a lot of confidence.”
Vettel said “we’ll have a new engine” at Spa as well as the usual aerodynamic approaches to boost straight-line speed. However, their Finnish teammates Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen will be out of sync as they were forced to change earlier in the season.
Alonso rejected Red Bull offer
Fernando Alonso has told Sky Sports that he rejected an offer from Red Bull to replace Daniel Ricciardo, before he announced he was retiring from Formula One at the end of the season.
The Spaniard told Sky Sports this evening, that he rejected the offer after Ricciardo announced he was leaving for Renault. Red Bull has already confirmed that Pierre Gasly will move up from Toro Rosso.
Alonso said “From one of the top three teams, l already had an offer a couple of times this year.” Asked if he was referring to Red Bull and whether they had offered him Ricciardo’s seat, Alonso confirmed: “Yes.”
Alonso’s comments come despite the Red Bull team principal Christian Horner telling Beyond The Grid that the team had ruled out the Spaniard. Horner said earlier this month “I have huge respect for Fernando, he is a great driver, a fantastic driver, but it’s very difficult…he’s tended to cause a bit of chaos wherever he’s gone.”
Last week, Alonso rebuffed a mock by Sky titled ‘F1 transfer deadline day’, in a Tweet he said “??????????????????!!! definitely one of the best things ever!!! Summer hit !!???????. #fromlastweekNothanks.”
Alonso has also hinted that he could return in the right circumstances, telling the press conference ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix, “For me it is a bye bye, but who knows – things change quickly. I am leaving the door open as I don’t know what will happen in the future.”
2021 regulations could be delayed
Formula One may delay the proposed changes to engine regulations until after 2021 if new manufacturers do not show an interest in joining the sport.
Earlier this year, Liberty Media and the FIA outlined the future plans for the power units, which included the same basic V6 engine with the removal of the hybrid element. Plans also included a higher fuel limit and an upgraded MGU-K, to make sure they retain power and road relevant.
The compromise has been reached to keep the current manufacturers happy while reducing the costs of the sport in development so the sport can reduce costs and bring in new manufacturers. However, it looks like no new manufacturers are ready to commit.
With no firm commitments from new manufacturers on the table for 2021, F1’s motorsport director Ross Brawn is now considering delaying an overhaul of the engine rules for a later date. In the race programme Brawn said “”We want to try and create a set of technical regulations on the engine, which are appealing to new manufacturers coming in as well as consolidate our existing engine suppliers.”
“And I think we just need to think of our timing on that, whether 2021 is the right time to do that, or whether it’s better to keep that powder dry until we can be certain that a major regulation change will bring fresh blood into the sport.”
He says that there is a lot more which can be done through the engine regulations, like limiting dyno tests and the number of engine upgrades. Brawn says that the decision is between a revolution or an evolution.
The main goal according to Brawn is to level the playing field for new manufacturers. He also believes that drivers should be the differentiator first, before the car and engine.
The Weekend Ahead
This weekend the summer break at the famous Spa – Francorchamps circuit, the race should favour Mercedes who have won every race of the hybrid era, apart from 2014. The circuit requires a good balance as it is power sensitive and that means that setup of the cars is very important.
Many of the teams will bring their third major upgrade of the season, so during practice on Friday, many drivers will be looking to understand these new updates. Force India we know were recused during the summer break they will be hoping that this will move them forward.
The next fortnight is key really as it is the final chance to bring ‘easy’ upgrades. As we head to Asia and the Americas for the final few races of the year, bringing upgrades will be more difficult.
Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have both won at Spa multiple times, but as we expect it’s a more Hamilton circuit and we know Mercedes are very strong at these type of circuits. Red Bull took a surprise win in 2014, yes both Mercedes retired, but that surprise win in Austria means they can’t be ruled out either.
Formula One Vault will bring you LIVE and full coverage of the Belgian Grand Prix from 09:45 UKT on Friday with first practice on our LIVE Twitter account @F1VaultLive. We will bring you race coverage from 13:40 on Sunday with the race starting at 14:10 UK time