Force India can reach "next level" after administration - Fernley

Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley believes that its administration process will have a positive outcome because a suitable buyer can invest in the Formula 1 team’s future.

Force India can reach "next level" after administration - Fernley
Robert Fernley, Force India F1 Team Deputy Team Principal
Esteban Ocon, Force India VJM11
Esteban Ocon, Force India VJM11
Sergio Perez, Force India VJM11
Sergio Perez, Force India VJM11 sparks
Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director, Force India
Sergio Perez, Force India VJM11

After Friday evening’s High Court decision in London administrator Geoff Rowley and his firm FRP Advisory are now running the team, using independently sourced funds that are sufficient, for example, to allow it to pay staff salaries next week.

Administration is viewed positively within the Force India camp because it allows FRP Advisory to properly assess potential buyers, with more than one candidate having been in discussions in recent weeks.

Team principal and main shareholder Dr Vijay Mallya was reluctant to sell unless the terms suited him and there was a risk that the ideal buyer would walk away, but now the final decision on selling is out of his hands.

“The company is now in administration and the administrator will be looking at potential buyers,” Fernley told Motorsport.com.

“And hopefully one of those buyers will be able to fulfil the ambitions of the team, which is to take it from where it is today, which I think is a podium opportunity team, into a podium on merit team.

“Interested buyers will lodge their interest with FRP, and FRP will now evaluate the business case for any of the potential buyers.

“From that I’m sure there will be a process which will involve Mercedes and F1 Group to determine the most appropriate buyer for Force India.

“The decision now is FRP’s in terms of who is selected, but I think there are a number of quality investor groups that are willing to come in and take this team to the next level, and the team deserves it.”

It is no coincidence that the legal process was launched just before the summer break, as running costs will be lower than if the team was in full operating mode and travelling to races.

“There has to be investment in the team,” said Fernley. “The team is now basically hitting the buffers in terms of its assets that it has today.

“In order to go forward to become a team of podium merit, then it also has to have investment, and it is what will be required as part of the process of looking at the new owners.”

Force India COO Otmar Szafnauer addressed team members in the Budapest pit garage this morning, explaining that the situation was in hand, and was joined by F1 CEO Chase Carey who stressed he is keen to see the team on the grid next year.

Fernley said Force India had “achieved tremendous things” and could go on to “achieve greater things” with the right investment and support from Mercedes, BWT and F1 through this process.

He added: “And with FRP and Geoff Rowley at the helm, who have tremendous experience in F1, unfortunate as the circumstances are I don’t think it could be in a better position to take the next steps.”

The team is due substantial payments from F1 based on finishing fourth in the constructors’ championship in 2016 and 2017, and with the team still in business those will continue to come through on schedule.

“As long as we are running as the entity that we are today, we have not got a cessation of trade,” said Fernley.

“We are continuing our operations as normal. F1 has an obligation to pay us the prize fund, and that will carry on as normal.”

shares
comments
Hungarian GP: Vettel quickest in incident-filled FP3

Previous article

Hungarian GP: Vettel quickest in incident-filled FP3

Next article

No "animosity" towards Perez - Force India

No "animosity" towards Perez - Force India
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams Force India
Author Adam Cooper
Why Russell was right to be wrong about Bottas after Imola F1 clash Prime

Why Russell was right to be wrong about Bottas after Imola F1 clash

George Russell and Valtteri Bottas' collision at Imola on Sunday prompted fury in the Formula 1 paddock. But Russell's carefully-worded heartfelt statement later, acknowledging that his initial response was wrong, proved the right move

How Verstappen and Hamilton’s Imola clash sets the tone for 2021 Prime

How Verstappen and Hamilton’s Imola clash sets the tone for 2021

In Max Verstappen's Formula 1 career to date, he has been cast as the 'pretender', an acknowledged top-line performer without the car to regularly challenge Lewis Hamilton. But that no longer applies in 2021, and the start to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was the most telling signal yet of what we can expect from their duel this year

Formula 1
Apr 21, 2021
How "overwhelming" McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve Prime

How "overwhelming" McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve

Daniel Ricciardo has found a new lease of life at McLaren – a move that’s been years in the making, as he explains to STUART CODLING…

Formula 1
Apr 20, 2021
How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams Prime

How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams

Formula 1’s latest Imola adventure turned into an expensive trip for many teams due to several crashes throughout the weekend. While balancing the books is an added factor in 2021 with the cost cap, a few midfield teams have cashed in early on development investments.

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings

A frantic wet race at Imola produced plenty of excitement and drama as drivers scrabbled for grip. Amid the hatful of mistakes and incidents that ensued, who kept their noses cleanest?

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves Prime

How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves

Rain before the start of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix promised to spice up the action, and the race certainly delivered on that. Max Verstappen got the best launch to win from Lewis Hamilton, but both got away with mistakes that could have had serious consequences

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era Prime

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era

The first in a line of world beaters was designed in a back bedroom and then constructed in a shed. STUART CODLING recalls the Tyrrell 001

Formula 1
Apr 18, 2021
Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola Prime

Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola

While Mercedes struck back against Red Bull by topping the times at Imola on Friday ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the overall picture remains incredibly close. Despite having a possible edge this weekend, the reigning Formula 1 world champion squad is not taking anything for granted...

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021