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Confusion over Force India

NEWS STORY
23/08/2018

While the cars and drivers are at the circuit, and the team is already tweeting about how glad it is to be in Belgium, there remains confusion in terms of Force India's participation in this weekend's Grand Prix.

In a nutshell, though Lawrence Stroll's consortium has rescued the Silverstone-based outfit from administration and essentially bought it, the one thing it hasn't acquired is Force India's all-important race entry. Indeed, other than the entry, which still belongs to Force India, which is still in administration, Force India, as was, has no other assets.

The deal to take Force India out of administration had a two week deadline which was widely assumed to be a foregone conclusion. However, in addition to drinks company Diageo, which has a lien on Force India in respect of a loan made to Vijay Mallya, a number of banks in India are refusing to give the deal their approval.

It was this threat to the overall deal which prompted Russian potash fertilizer producer and exporter, Uralkali, of which Dmitry Mazepin is a non-executive director, to issue its statement on Tuesday questioning the process.

"Despite expiration of the deadline set by the Administrator, no rescue plan was submitted to the court for approval, which confirmed Uralkali's view that the rescue option was not achievable in the timeline and under conditions proposed by the Administrator," said the Russian company in its statement.

The entry which allows teams to participate in the Formula One World Championship is widely seen as a team's most prized asset, and it was the transfer of Force India's entry to a new owner that McLaren, Williams and Renault sought to block.

While Force India was aiming to contest the remainder of the season using the original entry, the new owners can apply to enter the team as a whole new entity though this is a lot more complex than one might think. Furthermore, the new entry would need to be submitted by an ASN which in Force India's case was India.

While some are questioning whether Force India will participate in this weekend's Grand Prix, the fact is that the FIA, Liberty Media and a whole host of lawyers will be working hard to ensure they do.

That said, though the cars, trucks and hospitality units are in-situ - albeit devoid of Force India logos and anything related to Mallya's Kingfisher and UB Group, the only mention of the team's 'name' being above its garage - the team has yet to issue a preview of this weekend's race.

Check out our Thursday gallery from Spa, here.

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