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Sahara Force India F1 Team



Sahara Force India F1 Team Team

Dadford Road
NN12 8TJ

Tel: +44 (0)1327 850800

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2019 CAR

Force India VJM112022 launch: Click here for 2022 launch gallery


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Force India is the latest incarnation of 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.

Billionaire Mallya, who enjoys a high profile in India, where he is an MP in addition to being chairman of both the Federation of Motorsports Clubs in India (FMSCI) and Motorsport Association of India (MAI), was keen to raise his country's profile, and in addition to purchasing Spyker and renaming the team Force India, has been instrumental in getting India its own Grand Prix.

Under new ownership, Spyker saw out the remaining races of the 2007 season with a new livery but retained Sutil and Yamamoto, the German getting the new relationship off to the best possible start by scoring a point in Japan, the first race under the team's new ownership.

Over the course of the two final tests of 2007 the team ran a number of hopefuls as it sought to define its line-up for 2008, amongst those pounding the tarmac at Barcelona and Jerez were Giancarlo Fisichella, Ralf Schumacher, Christian Klien, Tonio Liuzzi, Franck Montagny, Roldan Rodriguez and Adrian Sutil, who seemed a shoe-in for one of the 2008 seats anyway.

After weeks of speculation, at a special ceremony in Mumbai on 10 January, Mallya confirmed his line-up, with Fisichella and Sutil taking the race seats and Liuzzi assuming the role of test driver.

Mallya was at pains to warn that race fans should not expect too much too soon, however, he was also keen to point out that Force India is a descendent of Jordan, a proven GP winner, with many of the original personnel still in place.

If nothing else, in the short term Mallya's arrival meant Force India had a decent budget, certainly compared to the previous couple of seasons.

However, armed with the VJM01 a derivative of the Spyker F8-V11, which was itself a derivative of the 2006 Midland M16, the Silverstone-based team was always going to be up against it in its first season proper.

Mark Smith was brought in from Red Bull, to join Mike Gascoyne, the duo having previously worked together at both Jordan and Renault. Smith was handed the role of 'Design Director', and given the immediate job of overseeing both the 2008 and 2009 cars.

2008 was always going to be an interim year, however, by season end, despite the obvious handicaps, the Silverstone outfit was giving Honda a run for its money, though perhaps that says more about the Brackley team.

The 2007 car was re-bodied and the team updated its windtunnel, with further work being done in the Lola and Aerolab facilities.

The introduction of a new quick-shift gearbox and a major aerodynamic upgrade at Silverstone clearly made a difference, but in all honesty it was too little too late. The Ferrari powerplant did its bit, as expected, but Mallya knew that if his team was to make improvements serious changes were needed.

The precise details of the deal are unknown, but shortly after the end of the season, following weeks of speculation, it was announced that a deal had been done with McLaren and Mercedes. While the German manufacturer would provide engines, McLaren would be responsible for gearboxes, hydraulic systems and operational support. McLaren Mercedes would also provide the Silverstone team with a KERS system.

However, this was not all. A number of highly respected people moved across to Silverstone, most notably Simon Roberts, who was appointed Chief Operating Officer. Indeed, according to Pitpass sources, McLaren personnel now populate most key departments at Force India, even in marketing. Mike Gascoyne, not for the first time, left the Dadford Road facility before his contract had expired, while (Design Director) Mark Smith and (Technical Director) James Key were given joint responsibility for the design of the VJM02.

The McLaren deal led to talk of Force India becoming the Woking outfit's B-team, and when Ron Dennis announced that he was standing down as Team Principal some people started putting two and two together and coming up with all manner of scenarios, most of them highly unlikely.

Neither driver was really given the opportunity to shine in 2008 however, there were two obvious landmark moments. The first was Fisichella's twelfth place on the grid at Monza while the other was Sutil's superb performance at Monaco, where a sure-fire fourth place was snatched away by Kimi Raikkonen's out-of-control Ferrari.

Both drivers were retained for 2009, the Italian now the second most experienced driver on the grid. Tonio Liuzzi was also kept on as test driver though under the new testing rules it was unclear - as was the case with so many other test drivers - what exactly he'd be doing.

When Mallya first came into F1 there was speculation as to his staying power indeed, the depth of his pockets however, the deals with McLaren and Mercedes indicated he was in for the long haul and fully prepared to bankroll the team and its ambitions.

While the record books will show that Force India scored 13 points in 2009, that in no way tells the full story, far from it. The raft of new regulations which meant that all the teams were starting with the same blank piece of paper, not to mention the drive to reduce budgets, was always going to work in favour of the Silverstone-based outfit. While there was also the McLaren-Mercedes deal, many were of the opinion that this was done too late to have any significant impact on Force India's 2009 season. They were wrong.

Originally designed for the Ferrari engine and KERS package, it was all hands on deck as technical director James Key, chief aerodynamicist Simon Philips and design director Mark Smith worked to accommodate the Mercedes FO108W powerplant, the McLaren gearbox and Mercedes KERS system.

For much of the season the team was "one development step behind," Key was to admit, nonetheless once the FIA had given its blessing to the double diffuser the Silverstone outfit was the first team to have one on both of its cars (Bahrain). Key subsequently admitted that over the off-season his team had looked at the concept of the double diffuser but was convinced it would never be allowed.

Once again, the team suffered appalling bad luck with Sutil skidding off in China when seemingly destined to take sixth place ahead of Lewis Hamilton, while at the Nurburgring the hapless German was forced to make an extra stop after crashing into Raikkonen when leaving the pits. At one stage he had been running as high as second.

Race by race the VJM02 was clearly improving and by the time the 'circus' arrived in Spa - for the first of the season's two seriously low-downforce races - the car was truly on song.

Up to this point Force India had struggled in qualifying, Sutil's 7th in Germany one of the rare occasions when the team made it into Q3. However, all that changed in Belgium where Fisichella took pole.

To prove that this was no fluke and that his team had finally arrived, Giancarlo finished a highly impressive second in the race, a Safety Car at the very start of the race robbing him of what could have been his team's first win. Finishing just 0.939s behind Kimi Raikkonen, the Italian posted the fastest lap of the race just to prove a point.

At Monza, with Giancarlo now deputising for Massa at Ferrari, Sutil put his car second on the grid while new teammate Liuzzi started from seventh. The following day the German brought the VJM02 home in fourth the Force India only out-paced by the Brawns and the ubiquitous Raikkonen. Liuzzi also seemed destined for a points finish until sidelined by a gearbox failure.

While there were no more points, Sutil did qualify fourth in Japan and third in China, as the Silverstone team continued to punch well above its weight.

Thirteen points and ninth in the championship doesn't begin to tell the story, and while most people regarded Brawn as the true fairytale of 2009 spare a thought for the fantastic efforts of the entire team at Force India.

For 2010, the Silverstone based outfit retained both drivers, while former director of strategy and business planning for the Honda F1 Team Otmar Szafnauer was recruited as chief operating officer taking over from Simon Roberts who headed back to McLaren Applied Technologies after just one year at Dadford Road. Elsewhere, highly rated technical director James Key was pinched by Sauber.

While the stats might not support it, the fact is that Force India continued to punch above its weight in 2010, albeit in less dramatic fashion than the previous year.

Starting the season around a second off the pace of the Red Bulls, the gap was about the same by the end of they year. Where the Silverstone based outfit lost out however, is that by then it had been eclipsed by both Williams and Sauber.

As it tried to focus on development, like so many of its rivals, precious resources needed to be diverted in order to copy the two biggest innovations of the year, the F-duct and the blown diffuser.

Sticking with the Mercedes engine/McLaren gearbox package that had proved so successful in 2009, the VJM03 was an improvement in that it was better across a wider rage of tracks, whereas the VJM02 was at its best mainly when high downforce wasn't required.

While the team introduced its F-duct in Turkey, the blown diffuser made its race debut in Belgium having been tried during the free practice sessions in Hungary. The team was constantly playing around with its front wing while over the course of the season no less than seven different floors were used.

Although he qualified tenth in Bahrain, Sutil was involved in a first lap clash with Robert Kubica, leaving Liuzzi to open the team's 2010 points account. It was Liuzzi who added a further 6 points in Australia, Sutil suffering an engine problem nine laps into the race, however, the German took advantage of the conditions and rivals' misfortunes to take a splendid 5th in Malaysia.

In Spain the team began a sequence of six races in which it scored points however, in the second half of the season it began to lose ground, the only highlights being Sutil's 5th in Belgium and Liuzzi's 6th in Korea. The Silverstone outfit's failure to score points in the two final races meant that Nico Hulkenberg's eighth place finish in Brazil was enough to see Williams outfit leapfrog it and secure sixth in the Constructors' Championship.

There were no podiums, no front rows - though Sutil did qualify 4th in Malaysia - and no battles with Ferrari, far less Red Bull, but on the whole, it wasn't a bad season for the Silverstone team.

After months of speculation, and even though he had a contract, Liuzzi was eventually dropped in favour of Scotland's Paul di Resta for 2011, the reigning DTM champion joining Sutil in his fourth season with the team. Just to keep them on their toes, in a clever move, the team recruited German hot-shot Nico Hulkenberg as its test and reserve driver.

Going into 2011, of great concern was that behind the scenes the team had lost newly promoted technical director Mark Smith - who had replaced Key - chief designer Lewis Butler, and head of aerodynamics Marianne Hinson, all three heading to Lotus. On the other hand, the Andrew Green designed VJM04 would no doubt benefit from the Silverstone outfit's partnership with McLaren Applied Technologies.

A number of teams experienced a season of two halves in 2011, and so too did Force India. However, while its rivals appeared to drop off as the season progressed, the Indian team grew stronger and by season end was challenging Renault for fifth in the championship.

In the first race of the year in Australia, Sutil and di Resta finished eleventh and twelfth but were subsequently promoted to ninth and tenth after both Saubers were disqualified for a technical infringement. There was another point in Malaysia however, it was Monaco before the team scored again, Sutil bringing his car home in seventh.

In qualifying the team also struggled, though di Resta did well to make it into Q3 in China, starting eighth on the grid however he was to finish the race just outside the points.

The VJM04 was a no frills machine, what some might call conservative. However, it was a solid foundation of a car that could be built upon, which is exactly what the team did. Having scored just twelve points in the first half of the season, from Germany the Silverstone outfit racked up a further fifty-seven.

The drivers, now began to make it into Q3 on a slightly more regular basis - that's when tactical errors didn't let the team down - and were able to make full use of the constant updates, scoring points in every remaining round bar Japan.

Though di Resta was unable to capitalise on his excellent sixth spot on the grid at Silverstone, he made up for it in Hungary when he brought his car home in seventh. In Singapore he finished a strong sixth, ahead of his eighth placed teammate, while the positions were reversed in the season finale in Brazil.

Having overtaken Sauber in the standings the Indian team rapidly hauled in Renault which, following a strong start to its season, was now running out of steam. However, it was not to be, Renault holding on to fifth in the standings by the skin of its teeth (four points), despite having scored just eight points in the last ten races of the season.

In October 2011, it was announced that Sahara India Pariwar had bought into the team - which subsequently became Sahara Force India - injecting a much welcome $100m in return for a 42.5% stake. Vijay Mallya retained another 42.5% while the remaining 15% belongs to the Mol family. The shares sold were newly issued, neither Mallya nor Mol sold any of their existing shares.

Despite the fact that the 2012 line-up was common knowledge, for reasons best known to itself the team left it until mid-December before revealing that Paul di Resta would remain with the team and would be partnered by Nico Hulkenberg.

Having scored the bulk of the team's points, and finished ninth in the championship, Sutil will have felt more than a little irked at the decision, especially as the only vacant seats remaining were at Williams and HRT. However, fact is, di Resta had been impressive, certainly for a rookie, and Hulkenberg was clearly a star of the future. Then again, Sutil's legal problems will have hardly helped.

All in all, it was a strong season for the Silverstone-based team, which, unbelievably, had achieved its best championship result since 2002. However, it had to learn from its mistakes. In 2012 it would need to be competitive straight out of the box and sort out the strategic errors that saw it lose ground in both races and qualifying in 2011.

Once again, 2012 saw Force India - sorry, Sahara Force India - caught up in the war zone that is the midfield, the Silverstone-based outfit battling Sauber, Williams and Toro Rosso. A vast improvement saw Lotus (nee Renault) move up to the nether regions of the battle of the big guns while at times it appeared Mercedes wanted to join in the fun further down the field.

In all honesty, much of the midfield fight in 2012 was between Force India and its Swiss rivals. Once again the Indian team enjoyed a low key start to the season, gaining momentum as the year progressed. Indeed, from Belgium to Brazil the team enjoyed a run of nine races in which it scored points, a feat only managed (and bettered) by five other teams.

At its best on street circuits the VJM05 lost out as its rivals continued to bring on the updates. And there's the rub, for while Force India enjoyed a healthy run of points finishes in the second half of the season it could have been so much better however, as Technical Director Andy Green admitted following the summer shut down the team effectively gave up on development and instead switched focus to 2013. Just a bit more effort, a little more self belief and it is entirely possible that Force India could have beaten Sauber to sixth overall.

Not for the first time, Force India often found itself the centre of speculation over its finances, some sections of the media appearing to have an almost morbid interest in the Silverstone outfit's accounts. However, all that appeared to be dispelled late in the year when Mallya revealed a 50 investment programme.

As expected, the pairing of di Resta and Hulkenberg was strong, though the German clearly had the better season. While the Scot had some strong results, he lost momentum in the second half of the season, especially when it became clear that there wasn't going to be an invite from one of the bigger teams.

In his second full season in F1, Hulkenberg was one of the true stars, the German coming so close to taking a shock win in the season finale at Interlagos, a circuit he clearly enjoys. Whether the move to Sauber was the correct thing to do however, is up for discussion however, the gut feeling at Pitpass is that the Swiss outfit is merely a stepping stone on his way to Ferrari.

Maybe it was a portent of things to come, but one of the strangest sights of the year had to be that of di Resta unveiling the VJM06 alone. With the first test just days away, the Scot pulled back the covers and grinned for the cameras, surely, like the rest of us, wondering who would be partnering him in 2013 and why weren't they there.

Almost a month later, the team finally announced the return of Adrian Sutil, the German, recreating the team's 2011 line-up and returning to the Formula One fold after his year in the wilderness as a result of his Shanghai nightclub naughtiness.

Much as was the case at Ferrari, for Force India it was a season of two halves. In Australia both drivers finished in the points, though it was back to earth with a bump in Malaysia when both retired within a couple of laps of one another with a wheelnut issue.

A strong performance in Bahrain saw di Resta finish fourth, pipped for third by Romain Grosjean in the closing stages, whilst a few weeks later Sutil claimed fifth on the streets of Monaco.

Indeed, with the Silverstone-based outfit scoring points in seven of the first eight races, approaching the summer break the white, green and orange cars were heading McLaren in the Constructors' Championship, and deservedly so.

Whilst the team appeared to have succeeded better in terms of tyre management than its rivals, it let itself down in other areas, particularly strategy, whilst a lack of single-lap pace hindered in qualifying. Furthermore, the situation wasn't helped by di Resta's public criticism of the team, a trait not widely appreciated in the F1 paddock.

Then came the summer break and along with it the changes to the tyre compounds. After that Force India was but a shadow of its former self, a situation not helped by di Resta crashing out in consecutive races, only one of the incidents attributable to another driver.

Finishing the season sixth overall was no doubt something that the like of Williams would have given its eye teeth for however, the fact is that Force India could, and should, have done better. Fifth, ahead of McLaren, was certainly on the cards.

At season end the team dropped both drivers, bringing Nico Hulkenberg back from Sauber and putting him alongside Sergio Perez.

While Vijay Mallya's financial woes continued to make headlines in India, they appeared relatively small fry compared to those of others along the pitlane. Though the team will have been disappointed that it didn't make more of things in 2013 it had no reason to be ashamed, and if the momentum of the early stages of the season could be carried forward who knew what might be possible.

In many ways, 2014 was Force India's best season to date, though it finished sixth, as in 2013 and 2011, it scored more points than ever before and its second ever podium finish.

Though the team scored points in all but two races, not for the first time it was a season of two halves. This time around however, the drop-off over the second half of the year wasn't the result of regulation changes.

With the team running the Mercedes power unit, without question the power unit of 2014, it's believed that much of the drop-off in performance was down to aero, an opinion enforced by the post-season team's announcement that it would use Toyota's Cologne windtunnel in 2015 and beyond as opposed to its own.

In terms of drivers, whilst Hulkenberg scored 37 more points than his teammate, it was Perez who looked the more convincing. Indeed, for much of the season the German was a shadow of the man who had supposedly walked away from a Ferrari drive a year earlier and had also been linked with McLaren.

Perez, who scored that elusive podium result (Bahrain) was on target to repeat the feat in Canada until being hit from behind by Massa, both drivers still refusing to accept even a hint of blame. The stewards subsequently his the Mexican with a 5-place grid penalty ruling that he had changed his racing line and therefore caused the collision. In Austria the Mexican briefly led the race but was eventually to slip back to sixth.

While Hulkenberg scored points in 15 of the 19 rounds, compared to Perez' 12 points finishes, the German never really impressed, and whilst retained for 2015 his decision to contest Le Mans with Porsche appeared to indicate the love affair with F1 was waning.

In the first half of the season the Silverstone outfit led its Woking neighbours, and though the battle for fifth continued all the way to Abu Dhabi, for the second half of the year the end result was never really in doubt.

Both drivers were retained for 2015 and assuming Mercedes was able to stand its ground in terms of the engine freeze the Silverstone outfit looked likely to build on its 2014 form.

In a year which saw the demise of Caterham and Marussia, and the chasm between the sport's haves and have-nots grow ever wider, Force India was at the forefront in terms of the argument to reduce costs. However, whilst there clearly needs to be some sanity in terms of spending, it was somewhat ironic to see Mallya - though no longer a billionaire and encountering continuing business problems in India - pleading poverty.

In recent years it has become traditional for Force India to start the season well then gradually run out of steam towards the end. 2015 saw the complete opposite, the Silverstone outfit struggling at first and then coming into its own, going on to the best finish in its history.

Still struggling financially - and letting everyone know about it - the team began the season with what was essentially the 2014 car. Indeed, subsequently using the actual 2014 car at the first two tests, the much anticipated unveil in Mexico City in January was for the "dynamic new livery" as opposed to anything technical, the VJM08 not appearing until the final (Barcelona) test.

As the team did its best to keep in touch with the leaders, we were constantly told of the impending launch of the B-spec car, the much anticipated result of time spent in the Toyota windtunnel.

Making its debut in the post-Austrian GP test, it was soon clear that the VJM08B was an entirely different beast, only failing to score points in one race (Hungary) following its introduction.

Whilst Hulkenberg got the early attention, especially following his impressive win at Le Mans, it was teammate Perez who took centre stage late season.

Indeed, as the Mexican racked up the points, taking almost double his teammate's post-summer tally, one wondered whether previous speculation linking Hulkenberg with a 'top drive' might better apply to Sergio.

Finishing ninth (Perez) and tenth in the final standings, the duo helped Force India to fifth in the Constructors' Championship, its best ever result.

51 points down on Red Bull, one wondered whether the Silverstone-based outfit might have achieved fourth had the B-spec car been introduced earlier... or mistakes such as Australia and Malaysia (Perez), and Malaysia (again), Canada, Singapore and Russia (Hulkenberg) not been made.

Bearing in mind those money issues, including those of Vijay Mallya back in India, the team performed miracles in achieving what it ultimately achieved. However, whether this form could be maintained in 2016 remained to be seen.

If you use any of the news aggregator websites you'll be aware that, certainly for much of the first half of the year, most of the stories relating to Force India were actually about team Mallya.

With team co-owner Subrata Roy in prison since 2014, and Mallya effectively confined to the UK, the headlines were increasingly scandalous and lurid, suggesting that the end was near and he was only ever hours away from arrest.

Whatever the whys and wherefores of Mr Mallya's business exploits, the fact that his team not only continued seemingly unaffected but went to beat one of the longest established garagistes speaks volumes. The little team that could, one might say.

With Mallya otherwise engaged, the team had to rely on tech boss Andrew Green, team principal Bob Fernley and CEO Otmar Szanfauer, and as ever they did a pretty amazing job.

The team - like its predecessors - has never made any secret about its lack of funding, certainly compared to the big guns. Indeed, unhappy with the way the prize pot is divided, not to say the way the sport is run in favour of the bigger teams, Force India, along with Sauber went to the European Commission.

That lack of funding however, might have been something of a blessing in disguise, for it meant that the team had to watch the pennies and while rivals enjoyed the luxury of their own windtunnels, Force India's (2014) decision to make use of Toyota's in Cologne finally paid off.

Not for the first time the team introduced a B-spec car, though this time around it was as early as Spain. The improvement, though not immediate, was obvious.

The first few rounds of the season were marked by a certain amount of bad luck and silliness, though in China and Russia Perez qualified an impressive seventh. The points however were few and far between, Hulkenberg finishing seventh in Australia and Perez ninth in Russia.

While on paper the B-spec car's maiden race didn't appear anything to write home about, it was clear that the move would eventually pay off. Other than a strong influence from Mercedes - and why not - the team continued with its unique 'nostrils' a move which had previously paid off and which, for some reason, nobody else had copied.

Monaco saw the team's first podium of the year, and other than a difficult weekend in Austria, the Silverstone outfit went on to score points in every remaining race.

Though the team was never going to challenge Mercedes or even Red Bull and Ferrari, it was clearly best of the rest, and though involved in a bitter battle with Williams for fourth in the team standings the end result was inevitable.

There was a further podium in Baku, but there could have been more if not for a spin in qualifying in Baku for a Hulkenberg and a puncture - again for the German - in Brazil.

Other than the strong management team, much credit also has to go to the driver pairing, though once again it was Perez who came out on top.

Not only was the Mexican one of only two drivers who finished all 21 races, he was usually ahead of his teammate who suffered four DNFs. While Hulkenberg out-performed his partner 12-9 in qualifying, the difference was minimal.

Perhaps feeling that Perez was the new star of the show, Hulkenberg opted to move to Renault for 2017, while the Mexican, though linked with several other teams, and amidst talk his sponsors wanted him elsewhere, opted to stay put.

Perez was joined by Mercedes protege Esteban Ocon who gave a pretty good account of himself during his brief stint with Manor, so once again the team appeared to have a talented driver pairing.

While it was doubtful the team would make the sort of progress in 2017 to allow it to snap at the heels of the front runners, at the time we suggested it would do well to hold off Williams, while Toro Rosso would surely benefit from Renault power.

How wrong we were.

Fact is, for the second successive season 'the little team that could' finished fourth in the standings, 104 points clear of fifth placed Williams.

Despite the relative lack of funding and resources, despite the relative lack of experience, despite the ongoing legal problems with Vijay Mallya, the Silverstone-based outfit proved that 2016 was no fluke as it compounded its position as 'best of the rest'.

While nobody put 2016 down to being a fluke, there was understandable concern at Nico Hulkenberg's departure for Renault, while the overhaul of the aero regulations would surely play into the hands of the bigger teams. Or so we thought. But no, Force India simply kept its head down and got on with the job.

Furthermore, not content with a strong performance on track, the team led the way in terms of marketing, turning the VJM10 bright pink in honour of sponsor BWT, the Silverstone outfit subsequently dubbed the Pink Panthers.

The numbers say it all, on only occasion did the team fail to score a point, while in 16 of the 20 races both drivers added to the team's tally. OK, there were no podiums, but with the obvious superiority of Mercedes and Ferrari, not to mention Red Bull, that was to be expected.

While some will suggest the team had it made, what with the issues facing Williams and McLaren, and Renault still rebuilding as it entered its second full season, this would be wholly wrong, for the Silverstone-based outfit has done a superb job all round and its position is based on merit not the misfortune of others. Indeed, while Williams might be struggling for money - isn't Force India - does that really explain the 104 point deficit when both were using the same engine.

As for the drivers, well, there were times when they appeared to be con-joined. Be it the starting grid or at various other stages on Sunday afternoons, Perez and Ocon would find themselves squabbling over the same piece of tarmac.

While the Mexican out-qualified his teammate 13-7, and out-scored the French youngster 100-87, the pair were well matched, and the smart money will be on Ocon turning the tables this season.

Over the years the team has started well and then eased off, turning attention to the following season, but in 2017, from Monaco onwards, the updates came thick and fast right until the end of the year. That said, with few regulation changes in 2018, unlike 2017, many of these updates can be carried over.

Monaco is always a lottery, and therefore it is no real surprise that the Principality is the one circuit where the team failed to score a single point, the pair finishing a distant 12th and 13th.

However, there were a number of races where the squabbling between the duo cost the team, most notably, Canada, Azerbaijan and, of course, Belgium. Indeed it was at Spa where Ocon famously accused his teammate of trying to kill him, following two pretty horrendous clashes, the team subsequently banning its duelling duo from fighting.

With both retained for 2018 we knew we could expect more fireworks, and in all honesty based on the evidence thus it was likely Ocon would come out on top, the French youngster clearly a real star of the future.

One of the most remarkable things about Force India in recent years, wasn't so much that it regularly punched well above its weight, doing the impossible on an improbable budget, but that it did so with the Sword of Damocles hanging overhead in the form of Vijay Mallya's well documents legal and financial issues.

No longer able to attend overseas races, the flamboyant team owner, and his team, knew that the end result was inevitable, it was merely a question of when.

In recent years, Force India had a tendency to start weak before building up a head of steam. In 2018 however, the financial issues were such that the team started on the back foot, unable to provide the parts needed to get the most of the car. Neither car making it beyond Q2 in Melbourne was hardly the best start to the year, and next day Perez and Ocon finished a distant 11th and 12th.

Azerbaijan saw both cars make it to Q3 for the first time, however, while Perez went on to bring his car home an amazing third - the only non-Mercedes/Ferrari/Red Bull driver to make it to the podium all season, Ocon was out on the first lap following a needless clash with Raikkonen. For the remainder of the season the Frenchman tried, but failed, to make up for the points he threw away that day.

A number of upgrades in Spain clearly helped keep the team in the 'best of the rest' battle, but it was France when the team was finally in a (financial) position to drop the 2017-spec front wing for the 2018 version.

Though the team was now looking a lot stronger on track, enjoying double points finishes in Austria, Britain and Germany, behind the scenes the situation was dire.

Finally, in a move aimed to prevent legal action by another creditor which would probably have meant the end of the team, 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 - having purchased the beleaguered outfit.

It was subsequently revealed that the Silverstone-based outfit 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 Lawrence Stroll and his Racing Point consortium, who 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 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.

The buy-out and name change meant that Force India was no more, and with it went the 59 points won up to Hungary. In its 9 outings, Racing Point amassed 52 points, which suggests that fifth - possibly fourth - might have been possible had Force India been able to continue.

That said, the fact is that Force India had reached crisis point, and but for Perez' action might have gone under.

The team was subsequently 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.

While Racing Point - or whatever it opts to call itself - will race on in 2019, with Perez joined by Lance Stroll, the Force India story effectively came to an end in Hungary 2018.

It was good while it lasted. What remains now, is whether Racing Point can pick up where its predecessor left off, those first few races certainly suggest so.


Team Principal: Dr Vijay Mallya

Chairman & Co-Owner: Subrata Roy Sahara

Shareholder: The Mol Family

Deputy Team Principal: Robert Fernley

Chief Operating Officer: Otmar Szafnauer

Technical Director: Andrew Green

Sporting Director: Andy Stevenson

Production Director: Rob Halliwell

Aerodynamics Director: Simon Phillips

Chief Designer: Ian Hall

Chief Designer: Akio Haga

Co-founder and Board Member: Michiel Mol

Chief Race Engineer: Tom McCullough

Race Team Operations Manager: Mark Gray

Race Engineer (Sergio Perez): Tim Wright

No 1 Mechanic (Sergio Perez): Michael Brown

Race Engineer (Esteban Ocon): Bradley Joyce

No 1 Mechanic (Esteban Ocon): Will Vickery

Commercial Director: Stephen Curnow

Head of Communications: Will Hings

Communications Coordinator: Williams Ponissi

Senior Partner Manager: Kate Smithson

Partner Manager: Alison Budd
Partner Manager: Victoria Helyar

Head of Sales: Matthieu Strachan

Commercial Manager: Chris Gilkes



Chassis: Carbon fibre composite monocoque with Zylon side anti-intrusion panels.

Front suspension: Aluminium alloy uprights with carbon fibre composite wishbones, trackrod and pushrod. Inboard chassis mounted torsion springs, dampers and anti-roll bar assembly.

Rear suspension: Aluminium alloy uprights with carbon fibre composite wishbones, trackrod and pullrod. Hydro-mechanical springs, dampers and anti-roll bar assembly.

Wheels: BBS forged wheels to Sahara Force India specification

Transmission: Mercedes AMG F1 8-speed, semi-automatic seamless shift

Tyres: Pirelli

Brake system: 920E

Brake material: Carbon Industries

Mercedes F1 M09 EQ Power+

Power Unit Specification

Minimum Weight: 145 kg

Power Unit Perimeter: Internal Combustion Engine (ICE)

Motor Generator Unit - Kinetic (MGU-K)

Motor Generator Unit - Heat (MGU-H)
Turbocharger (TC)
Energy Store (ES)
Control Electronics (CE)

Power Unit Allocation: Three ICE, TC & MGU-H per driver per season. Two MGU-K, ES, CE per driver per season.

Internal Combustion Engine (ICE)

Capacity: 1.6 litres

Cylinders: Six

Bank Angle: 90

No of Valves: 24

Max rpm ICE: 15,000 rpm

Max Fuel Flow Rate: 100 kg/hour (above 10,500 rpm)

Fuel Injection: High-pressure direct injection (max 500 bar, one injector/cylinder)

Pressure Charging: Single-stage compressor and exhaust turbine on a common shaft

Max rpm Exhaust Turbine: 125,000 rpm

Energy Recovery System (ERS)

Architecture: Integrated Hybrid energy recovery via electrical Motor Generator Units

Energy Store: Lithium-Ion battery solution of minimum 20 kg regulation weight

Max energy storage/lap: 4 MJ

Max rpm MGU-K: 50,000 rpm

Max power MGU-K: 120 kW (161 hp)

Max energy recovery/lap MGU-K: 2 MJ

Max energy deployment/lap MGU-K: 4 MJ (33.3 s at full power)

Max rpm MGU-H: 125,000 rpm

Max power MGU-H: Unlimited

Max energy recovery/lap MGU-H: Unlimited

Max energy deployment/lap MGU-H: Unlimited

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