Racing Point is the latest incarnation of the team that started life in 1991 as Jordan, the Silverstone-based team Eddie Jordan sold to Alex Shnaider in January 2005, thereby bringing the Irish team's F1 endeavours to an end after fourteen years. For that season the team continued to run as Jordan before morphing into Midland for 2006.
It was in September 2006, during the Italian GP weekend, that Shnaider sold the team to Spyker Cars NV, the Dutch high performance car manufacturer. One year later, days after the 2007 Belgian GP, it was officially confirmed that Spyker was selling the team to a consortium led by Indian businessman Vijay Mallya and Michiel Mol for 88m euros. The team, anticipating interest in F1 in India, was subsequently named Force India.
While the Sword of Damocles had been had been hanging over Force India for several years, in terms of the authorities in India who were seeking Mallya's extradition on fraud charges, the situation reached crisis point in mid-2018, when, in a move aimed to prevent legal action by another creditor which would probably have meant the end of the team, driver Sergio Perez seized the initiative and kick-started the administration process.
Consequently, the team arrived at Spa after the summer break with a revised name and new owners, a consortium led by Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll - father of Williams driver Lance Stroll.
The new ownership was finalised on Thursday 16th of August, Stroll's co-investors being Canadian entrepreneur Andre Desmarais, Jonathan Dudman of Monaco Sports and Management, fashion business leader John Idol, telecommunications investor John McCaw Jr, financial expert Michael de Picciotto, businessman Lawrence Stroll and his business partner Silas Chou.
It was subsequently revealed that Force India had been on the verge of collapse owing £28.5m to 450 companies. Top of the pile of a list of creditors that included parts manufacturers, doctors, journalists, Toyota (wind tunnel use), delivery firms, drivers (for example Paul di Resta £348.86!!!), caterers, DJs and even various race tracks including Abu Dhabi, COTA and Monza, was Mercedes which was owed £13.7m for its engines.
Documents revealed that so dire was the situation, the team received "two loans from BWT, its main sponsor, of £757,000 and €535,000 to assist with its cash flow", the Austrian manufacturer of water treatment systems subsequently lending the team a further £5m to cover its July wages bill.
While Mercedes and Sergio Perez topped the list of creditors - the Mexican driver owed $4m - it was the money owed to HMRC and Formtech, a parts supplier which was owed £2.4m, that finally brought matters to a head.
The administrators (FRP), who had set a 6 August deadline, said they received five potential offers but only one of these was to buy shares in the team.
Step forward Stroll and his consortium, which immediately "provided a £15 million loan to the company to enable the ongoing payment of costs including the time critical development of the 2019 racing car... This enabled BWT to be repaid their loan of £5 million."
However, FRP still needed the approval of the banks by Friday 17 August, for on the Monday the Force India staff returned from the summer break and preparations for the Belgian Grand Prix would get underway. However, as it became obvious that the 17 August deadline could be met, FRP changed tack and instead of selling the shares in Force India, opted to sell the team's assets.
"By 14 August 2018 the required consents of the Indian banks had not been obtained," the documents reveal. "On 15 August 2018 Racing Point advised of their intention to proceed with a purchase of the company's business and assets for £90 million... On 16 August 2018 a sale of the company's business and assets was completed for a consideration of £90 million which was received in full at completion."
Revealing that it would receive 2.25% of the proceeds, which works out at a cool £2m, FRP said that "based on the assumptions made in the estimated outcome statement it is currently estimated that there will be sufficient funds available to pay all creditors in full."
Its debts paid and money in the kitty, the team celebrated in the best possible way, Perez and Esteban Ocon finishing 5th and 6th at Spa. Though there was another strong finish in Italy, and a significant upgrade finally introduced in time for Singapore, fortunes wavered in the final races as attention switched to 2019.
It wasn't all plain sailing however, in Austin Ocon was disqualified - after finishing 8th - for exceeding the fuel mass flow, while in Singapore the Frenchman was helpfully punted into the wall by his Mexican teammate.
In terms of the feuding duo, though things were nowhere near as bad as 2017, one would hardly describe the situation in 2018 as harmonious. If it wasn't Perez refusing to assist his teammate, it was Ocon refusing to help the Mexican, and in the wake of the Singapore clash there was renewed talk of team orders.
Following the buy-out, the team was embroiled in a bitter dispute with Haas over prize money, the American outfit stating that as a new team Racing Point wasn't entitled to it. The battle continues, but a late legal challenge by Haas relating to Intellectual Property appeared to back the American team's argument.
For 2019, Perez was joined by Lance Stroll, which, if nothing else, ensured that tangles such as those witnessed with Ocon would have far more significant repercussions.
Despite having appointed Otmar Szafnauer as team principal, Lawrence Stroll admitted that he would be "hands on" in terms of management, his big plans for the outfit including a new factory and a desire to battle the big teams.
Free of Mallya's legal issues and the money worries that went with them, it remained to be seen whether Racing Point could pick up where its predecessor left off, and hopefully punch even further beyond its weight.
In all honesty, we were expecting miracles and it was wrong to do so. Though the team had been saved and was facing an altogether brighter future, damage had been done and it would take a while to repair.
Indeed, such was the state of the team in the aftermath of Mallya's mismanagement, that it began 2019 with what Andy Green described as a "vanilla car".
"We did what we needed to get the car out for launch," he told reporters, "but in the background we have always been working on the car for the first race, trying to find the maximum performance we can and bring to Melbourne."
Even the Silverstone-based outfit would admit that the points scored in the opening three races were down to luck more than judgement, however, the double-points finish in Baku was deserved.
Sadly, at that point the team disappeared into obscurity, encountering one anonymous race after another, and while Perez experienced the longest points drought of his F1 career - going 8 races without scoring - the mayhem of the Nurburgring saw teammate Stroll score an impressive 4th.
Ironically, it was in Germany that the team introduced its first significant upgrade, not that race day's difficult conditions allowed it to shine.
In the races that followed further upgrades appeared, allowing Perez to now begin a run of nine races in which he scored points in eight, while Stroll added to his tally in Belgium and Japan.
If the pre-season car was vanilla, by Singapore we had Haagen-Dazs, what with so many changes. First there were the sidepods, then the cooling package, then came the front suspension and front wing.
However, one area where the team was sadly lacking all season was qualifying, with Perez only making it to Q3 on four occasions and Stroll once. On average the Mexican qualified around 13th while his teammate was around 16th.
While some determined drives, decent strategy and some particularly strong starts - especially from Stroll - helped out on race day, the team's poor qualifying performance on Saturday's meant the pair were always up against it.
Be it his faith in the team, or the knowledge that there are few other worthwhile drives available, Perez agreed a new deal which keeps him in place until 2022, while Stroll is there for as long as he wishes.
With the new factory due to be ready for 2021, Racing Point is now beginning to ramp up, the team having agreed a deal which sees it using Mercedes’ wind-tunnel in Brackley.
We saw, during the Mallya mayhem that this was a team that could punch well above its weight, though it must be given the benefit for its 2019 performance, much more is expected this season and going forward.
Chassis: Carbon fibre composite monocoque with zylon legality side antiintrusion panels
Suspension: Aluminium uprights with carbon fibre composite wishbones, trackrod and pushrod. Inboard chassis mounted torsion springs, dampers and anti-roll bar assembly
Fr : 13” x 13.7”
Rr: 13” x 16.9”
Clutch: AP Racing
Brake System: Brembo brake calipers and in-house design brake by wire system with carbon fibre discs and pads
Electronics: FIA single ECU with in-house design electrical harness
Overall Width 2000mm
Overall Length 5600mm
Overall Weight Overall vehicle weight 746kg (including driver, excluding fuel)
Weight distribution between 45.4% and 46.4%
Mercedes-AMG F1 M11 EQ Power+
1.6L V6 Turbo charged + energy recovery system
Transmission: Mercedes GP 8-speed, semi-automatic
Lubricants: Ravenol (Official Lubricants Partner)