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Szafnauer defends prize money decision

NEWS STORY
28/08/2018

Though the mood in the Spa paddock indicated that everyone was delighted to see it was basically 'business as usual' for Racing Point, it changed somewhat when it became clear that in addition to being allowed the prize money its predecessor Force India had earned in 2017, the outfit may get full prize money payments from the outset rather than having to wait two years as is the custom with brand new entries.

Despite the best efforts of the FIA and Chase Carey over the course of the Spa weekend - which is understood to have included various levels of 'persuasion' - the necessary unanimous agreement on the move is not yet forthcoming.

Though he understands the feeling of those questioning the move, Szafnauer insists that his team should be treated differently to other new outfits.

"I understand why a new entrant needs to finish in the top ten for two years in a row, to start getting Column 1," he told Motorsport.com. "In the past when teams would enter, not really have the resources to enter and then they would be in for a bit and out, and in, and Bernie didn't want that.

"He wanted ten solid teams. So, Bernie thought, if you can survive for two years without money from me, then the third year you do get money from me, then there is no question that you can survive. That is why he did it for new entrants.

"This team has been racing for 25 years," he continued. "It is not a new entrant. There is no question of survival going forward. So that bit of it doesn't really apply, not to mention 25 years ago when it entered it probably had to do that. So why do it twice?

"If you look at the purpose of not receiving column 1 twice, this team doesn't apply for that purpose, that objective."

Fact is however, that the team that had "been racing for 25 years" is no more - to echo the infamous Monty Python sketch: It has ceased to be! It has expired and gone to meet its maker! It is stiff! Bereft of life. It rests in peace! Its metabolic processes are now history! It's kicked the bucket, shuffled off this mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible!! It is an ex-team.

Racing Point is not Force India, nee Spyker, nee Midland, nee Jordan, it is a brand new team entered under an entirely different ASN and with an entirely new F1 Team Agreement. It has even paid a new entry fee - a somewhat eye-watering amount if speculation is to believed - and far in excess of that (already) paid by Force India.

Despite Szafnauer's, almost subliminal, insistence that "the cars are still pink, still have the same sponsors, still have the same drivers, have the same motorhome and same employees. You look at us, we're exactly the same." The fact is that Racing Point is run by a company which was set up at the start of this month and has just one race under its belt.

Furthermore, while he adds that "there is no question of survival going forward", it is the very fact that Force India got into financial difficulty and its future became uncertain, that this whole sorry mess came about.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Anthony, 29/08/2018 17:13

"Surely the correct position should be that either the “new” team has the both assets (including money due to FI) and liabilities of FI or neither the assets and liabilities. The “have your cake and eat it” approach of Szafnauer cannot be the right answer."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Insane Reindeer, 29/08/2018 16:05

"So many fans line up to slam Ferrari for getting preferential treatment from the FIA and Liberty. But when it's a new team then they should definitely get all the special treatment they need? As for comments of Szafnauer, well, I for one hope they came back to bite him on the butt. Hard!

The rules are clear. They are a new team. They have a new entry. They have a different association backing said entry. They shouldn't get the poins they have earned. They shouldn't get the prize money. And they should have to wait two *full* seasons before they can earn any more prize money.

If any of the old team's fans or employees think that that is harsh in th extreme then they should direct their anger at the incompetent morons who have become the new bosses. If they had had half a brain cell and bought the existing entry then we wouldn't be having this conversation. "

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3. Posted by Mad Matt, 29/08/2018 12:44

"Nice article, "they are an ex-team :-)"

In my opinion the rules are meant to cover this scenario. As the article said or implies, they should be doing 2 years on their own to prove that the new organisation is financially viable. This is made more apposite given the financial failings of the previous Force India.
"

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4. Posted by Editor, 29/08/2018 9:03

"@ Motorsport-fan

Indeed, and in many ways this is the first ‘crisis’ that Liberty has had to deal with.

Behind the scenes there is a lot of unease and both Liberty and the FIA are trying to keep a lid on it.

Then there’s the threat of legal action from Mazepin."

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5. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 29/08/2018 8:55

"When the rules for entry where put in place it probably did not include this scenario."

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