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Force India F1 team history birthed Aston Martin

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Force India F1 team history
Force India F1 car. Photo/News.com.au
  • Netlfix docu-series on Formula Drive to Survive’ is an eye-opener for many
  • The industrious nature of Indians caught up with the multi-billion-dollar Formula One industry
  • The man behind it is none other than Sahara India Pariwar

Netflix docu-series on Formula One Drive to Survive is an eye-opener for many. You fall in love with the sport with each season. The highlight of the documentary’s six seasons is Sahara Force India F1 team history.

Apparently, the industrious nature of Indians caught up with the multi-billion-dollar Formula One industry many moons ago. The man behind it is none other than Sahara India Pariwar, known for his controversial persona.

SAHARA FORCE INDIA F1 TEAM HISTORY

Force India F1 team history is as interesting as any life story of an Indian entrepreneur. It was a Formula One racing team based in Silverstone, United Kingdom formerly known as Spyker F1 Team. Later, for sponsorship reasons, the team changed its name to Sahara Force India Formula One Team. Dutch businessman Michiel Mol and Indian businessman Vijay Mallya bought the Spyker F1 team from its former owner, Spyker Cars in 2007.

The team debuted in the 2008 F1 season. However, it was not an easy path for it to make a name due to budgetary restrictions and technological difficulties. These made it difficult for Force India to make notable successes in its early years. Still, the team’s performance and competitiveness improved with time. It rebranded to Sahara Force India in 2011 after tycoon Sahara India Pariwar acquired a majority stake from Mol and Mallya.

force india f1 team history

Force India F1 car. Photo/News.com.au

Force India enjoyed its most successful period in Formula 1 from 2014 to 2018. During these years, the team consistently finished in the top five of the Constructors’ Championship standings. Moreover, it made fourth-place finishes in 2016 and 2017 which remain its biggest success so far.

F1 drivers Sergio Pérez and Nico Hülkenberg played crucial roles in the team’s success during this period. However, despite its on-track success, the team faced financial difficulties. In August 2018, Sahara Force India went into receivership. The team was subsequently purchased by a consortium led by Lawrence Stroll, father of driver Lance Stroll, and was renamed Racing Point Force India F1 Team.

Following the change in ownership, the team continued to compete in the 2018 season under the new name. For the 2019 season, it was rebranded as Racing Point F1 Team. In 2021, the team was rebranded to Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team, marking the return of the Aston Martin name to Formula One after a long absence. This rebranding followed Lawrence Stroll’s investment in Aston Martin Lagonda, leading to a closer partnership between the car manufacturer and the Formula One team.

WHAT HAPPENED TO FORCE INDIA F1?

Force India’s journey wasn’t without its hurdles. Despite securing impressive podium finishes and consistently placing in the midfield, financial woes cast a shadow of doubt on the team. In 2018, with legal battles surrounding team owner, Force India F1 team history changed as it entered administration, a form of insolvency protection. This meant the team was unable to pay its debts and required restructuring to continue operations.

WHAT F1 TEAM DID FORCE INDIA BECOME?

Force India F1 team history

Force India F1 team history. Photo/Pinterest

force india f1 team history

Force India F1. Photo/SkySports

The future of Force India remained uncertain until a consortium led by Canadian businessman Lawrence Stroll stepped in.  In August 2018, a rescue mission was launched, with Stroll acquiring the team’s assets. However, due to the ongoing legal issues, Force India couldn’t compete under its original name for the remainder of the 2018 season. A temporary solution was reached – the team raced under the banner “Racing Point Force India F1 Team.”

DID ASTON MARTIN BUY FORCE INDIA?

Technically, Aston Martin didn’t directly buy Force India. However, the story takes another turn in 2019.  Stroll, who led the consortium that acquired Force India, also held significant stakes in Aston Martin.  This paved the way for a rebranding, and in 2019, the team transitioned to become Racing Point F1 Team.

While the name changed, the core foundation remained largely intact. The team continued to operate from its Silverstone base in the UK, utilizing the same facilities and personnel. The driver lineup also saw some continuity, with Perez remaining a key driver.

HOW MUCH DID LAWRENCE STROLL PAY FOR FORCE INDIA?

The exact figure paid by Stroll’s consortium to acquire Force India hasn’t been publicly disclosed. However, reports suggest it was a significant sum.  Given the team’s established infrastructure, competitive potential, and intellectual property, the purchase price was likely in the tens of millions of dollars.

The acquisition by Stroll marked a turning point for the team. The financial stability it brought allowed for further investment in car development and driver talent. This translated into improved performance on the track, with Racing Point achieving podium finishes and challenging for higher positions in the constructor’s championship.

Despite the change in ownership and branding, the Force India era left its mark on Formula One. Drivers like Giancarlo Fisichella, Adrian Sutil, Perez, and Esteban Ocon all achieved podium finishes with the team.

Teresa is a journalist with years of experience in creating web content. She is a wanderlust at heart, but an outgoing sports writer with focus on tennis, athletics, football, motorsports and NBA.

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