Who's who among Force India's new owners

Lawrence Stroll's involvement in the Force India buyout grabbed the headlines - but there are other big business names in the consortium that made the bid.

Who's who among Force India's new owners

It’s been known for some time that Lawrence Stroll was trying to buy the Force India f1 team, and given his credentials and contacts in the paddock it was no surprise when he was announced as the winning bidder for the Silverstone-based team.

However, the Canadian billionaire is not the only person involved, as he is the head of a consortium that includes several of his closest associates and friends. Their combined CVs certainly look impressive, and clearly helped to convince administrator Geoff Rowley that his bid was a serious one.

Stroll is believed to be not just the driving force behind the deal, but also the main investor, with the others putting in much smaller amounts.

However, their presence serves to divert attention from Stroll, who inevitably is sensitive to suggestions that he has bought the team purely to further the career of son Lance, rather than as a practical business investment.

So who are the men who now own a stake in the team?

Esteban Ocon, Force India VJM11, leads Sergio Perez, Force India VJM11

Esteban Ocon, Force India VJM11, leads Sergio Perez, Force India VJM11

Photo by: Andrew Hone / LAT Images

Andre Desmarais (Canada): The Desmarais family is the seventh-wealthiest in the country, according to the Canadian Business website listing – which also logs Stroll at number 55.

The family company, Power Corporation, was built up by the late Paul Desmarais. Andre, who is his younger son, is the deputy chairman, president and co-CEO. The company is mainly involved in financial services, but has interests in communications and energy, and has small holdings in companies as diverse as Adidas, Total and Pernod Ricard.

It is known for its strong political links. Indeed, Andre’s wife France is the daughter of Jean Chretien, Prime Minister of Canada from 1993 to 2003, having previously served on Power’s board.

Jonathan Dudman (Great Britain): Dudman is the head of Monaco Sports and Management, a company that describes itself as “a management advisory firm that typically serves high-net-worth clients and their families.” MSM began life in Monaco as part of IMG, and acquired its current identity in 2010.

Dudman works with many celebrities and sportsmen, essentially looking after their financial and legal interests, and Stroll is a long-time client. Among his motor racing connections, he was previously a director of Jody Scheckter’s Laverstoke Farm business.

John Idol (USA): Idol joined Polo Ralph Lauren in 1984, becoming group president and divisional COO. He was chosen as CEO of Donna Karan in 1997, taking over from the founder. He left after a merger with LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton in 2001.

He then became a co-owner and CEO of fashion brand Michael Kors since 2003, subsequently working closely with Stroll as they built up the company. Among his high profile moves was the acquisition of shoe brand Jimmy Choo. In 2016-’17 Michael Kors was a sponsor of McLaren.

Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL32

Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL32

Photo by: Steven Tee / LAT Images

John McCaw Jr (USA): McCaw is the third-oldest of four brothers who made their fortunes in telecommunications, having sold the McCaw Cellular concern built by their father John to AT&T for $12.6bn in 1994. Oldest brother Bruce has strong motorsport connections – he owned the PacWest Champ Car team, which operated from 1993 to 2002 and employed the likes of Mauricio Gugelmin, Mark Blundell and Scott Dixon.

John Jr has focussed on other sports, and was previously a part owner of the Vancouver Canucks (NHL), the Vancouver Grizzlies (NBA) and the Seattle Mariners (MLB). However, like brothers Bruce and Craig, he too has a fascination with classic cars, and has an incredible collection that includes a Ferrari 250GTO.

Michael de Picciotto (Switzerland): Picciotto was previously executive managing director of Geneva-based Union Bancaire Privée, founded by his uncle Edgar. He left that role in 2016 to become vice chairman of the supervisory board of Hamburg-based Engel & Völkers, which is basically an upscale real estate agent dealing in top-of-the-range properties worldwide, as well as yachts and planes.

The company says that de Picciotto has “a well established reputation as a creative and experienced banker, familiar with the contingencies and challenges of the contemporary financial world.”

Silas Chou (Hong Kong): From a wealthy Hong Kong family with extensive interests in textiles, the 72-year-old Chou has been a close associate of Stroll for three decades, focussing on the Far East-based manufacturing side of various fashion businesses.

Together they built Tommy Hilfiger into a global brand, with Chou serving as chairman, and subsequently did the same with Michael Kors, with help from John Idol. Chou has also been involved with the likes of Karl Lagerfeld, Pepe Jeans and Esprit.

Tommy Hilfiger branding

Tommy Hilfiger branding

Photo by: TommyNow Drive Runway Show

Russell efforts building "pressure" for F1 seat

Previous article

Russell efforts building "pressure" for F1 seat

Next article

Why F1 needs to rethink endless expansion

Why F1 needs to rethink endless expansion
Load comments
How Mika Hakkinen thrived at Lotus Prime

How Mika Hakkinen thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Prime

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Prime

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says Stuart Codling.

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Prime

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences.

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Prime

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Prime

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Prime

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1's elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he's recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Italian Grand Prix driver ratings

Two drivers produced faultless performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left many to rue what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021