The Force India Formula 1 team will race under the name Racing Point Force India for the Belgian Grand Prix. The team was unsure whether it would compete at this weekend's race, however it now appears as though it will be able to do so following an FIA approved name change.
The cars passed scrutineering under the name Sahara Force India F1 Team, but all branding of that name has been removed from the team’s motorhome, trucks and pit wall area.
The future of the Silverstone squad was in major doubt for a number of months due to financial issues. However, over the summer break, a consortium led by Lawrence Stroll, father of Williams driver Lance, took over the team and saved the jobs of over 400 people.
But the race entry was not included in the purchase due to legal issues surrounding former team owner Vijay Mallya, meaning that for it to continue racing this year, the team would have to compete under a new name.
The new name means that the team has been stripped of all of its points so far this season. It now sits last in the constructor's standings with 0 points. Changing the name of the car was not an option, and the team name had to be the contain the name of the car, so it therefore left 'Force India' at the end.
Earlier today, it was confirmed that deputy team principal Bob Fernley would be leaving the outfit with immediate effect. Otmar Szafnauer, who previously held the role of chief operating officer now becomes the new team principal.
“The new Racing Point Force India Team is delighted to be able to race when the championship resumes in Belgium this weekend,” Szafnauer said. “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. 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.”
F1's CEO Chase Carey also expressed his satisfaction in having the issue resolved: “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 in Formula 1 and we are confident that Racing Point Force India will go from strength to strength in the future.”
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing