Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Hockenheimring, 2018

Haas has not agreed for Force India to receive prize money

2018 Italian Grand Prix

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Force India may not receive its full share of Formula 1’s prize money as at least one team has not signed the latest version of the proposed agreement for it to do so.

RaceFans revealed last week all nine of Force India’s rivals had agreed the team should continue to receive its share of F1’s ‘Column 1’ prize money following its rescue from administration.

However it subsequently emerged not all teams have given their written consent since it became known Force India would have to re-enter the sport under a new licence. New entries to the sport do not receive ‘Column 1’ money until they have finished in the top 10 in two out of three consecutive seasons.

Asked by RaceFans at Monza today, Haas team principal Guenther Steiner confirmed his team has not signed for Force India to continue to receive the money after becoming a new entrant.

“With the new licence, we didn’t sign for that,” he said. “We still need to understand why it should be different.”

“Not signing doesn’t mean that you are right,” Steiner added, saying the team is awaiting further explanations from FOM and FIA.

“What you need to understand is with the new licence, why would there be a reason not to be treated like a new licence?” he said. “That is what we need to understand. We cannot explain it to ourselves, somebody has to explain it to us, and that hasn’t happened yet.”

Steiner said he was not aware whether other teams are also yet to agree the same terms.

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50 comments on “Haas has not agreed for Force India to receive prize money”

  1. So, not very surprising, given that Dieter alluded to this yesterday in his column.

    1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      30th August 2018, 13:06

      Yes the whole ‘9 signatures across 2 documents’ thing seemed a bit wooly. Not surprised Haas are kicking off here having just done it the hard way

      1. To be clear: there were two different sets of documents signed: one by six teams for the “going concern” financial waiver and the other by the three teams on the asset sale. Haas is one of the six and they now argue that circumstances changed as RPFI is a new entry, not a continuation of the former team under the same company registration and entry.

        1. I wonder if there is any possibility for racing point force india to come back as force india after 3 or 4 races? Iirc a team can miss that amount of races while still be eligible for the prize money. So if force india came back as force india they could just claim they missed those 3 or 4 races and now that they are back all is like it was before.

          1. @socksolid They still *are* Force India, for the portion of the rules that requires the Team name to feature the Chassis name. The financials are tied to the legal entity that entered the championship in January and that died with the Indian debtors – remember, this was an asset sale to a new corporate/legal entity.

  2. I would think the main difference between FI right now and Haas when they entered is that Haas was truly a new entrant in every sense of the word, whereas FI has a name change, and while I’m sure legally and contractually that makes a big difference, this is also a team that has so far participated in every race this season. In very many ways this is still the same team and nothing has changed in terms of it’s day to day running and in terms of the makeup of the cars. Not saying I side one way or the other, but surely Steiner can see a difference between Haas’ scenario and the one FI is in right now. Common sense says this is not a new team…legally it is.

    1. @robbie They were not a name change, though. Racing Point (“RACING POINT UK LIMITED”, Company number 11496673) is a different entity than Force India (“FORCE INDIA FORMULA ONE TEAM LIMITED”, Company number 02417588), and the FIA invalidated (IMHO prematurely, but that’s not consequential to this topic) the old company’s entry.

      It’s just that company #11496673 bought all (or most all) physical and IP assets of #02417588, which is why they look eerily similar.

      1. Just out of interest, what do you mean “prematurely”?

        1. @socksolid probably something relating to it being theoretically possible for the old Force India to legally return having missed a few races. Or rather it should’ve been.

    2. @robbie

      Common sense says this is not a new team…legally it is.

      …and the ‘legal’ bit is where all the money is tied up. If you had truck in this situation, you’d probably argue the same!

      Granted, Haas are only shaky ground because they agreed to enter the championship in the knowledge they wouldn’t get a thing for 3 years, whereas the FIA have admitted the means by which Force India was salvaged was by combining several different methods in a manner that has not been legally tested.

      If it ends up in front of the WMSC, it could go either way, because Haas are, according to the letter of law, correct.

      1. @optimaximal Agreed and well said.

      2. Michael Ward
        31st August 2018, 5:44

        Lets be real, HAAS will agree at some point, FOM, FIA will see to that. If HAAS don’t agree it could sink the whole force india deal, losing the team and all those jobs over this would look pretty bad for both HAAS and FOM, HAAS are just fishing for abit more money out of FOM before they agree. The previous article said it correctly, rushing like they did to get this force india deal done left legal holes that can still be challenged and like any good company with competent management HAAS are using their leverage to improve their position. HAAS will agree after getting a bit of money out of the deal for themselves, probably in secret, we’ll only hear rumours, but it will happen.

    3. It is a new team, Force India is in debt of several companies and those companies can’t get now those assets of Racing Point. What makes them escape those they didn’t pay is also what makes them not getting FIA money.

  3. Clearly, someone needs to throw some extra shekels Gene’s way to get this sorted. And with good cause, seeing how he didn’t get col I money for two years with his fresh entry.

    1. More correctly, people should have thrown shekels Gene’s way three years ago. He turned up at the race tracks, his cars were scrutinised and found to be compliant, they Qualified for the race, and then Raced. Haas were part of the entertainment. So the team should have been paid. If that had happened then it would be hard for Gene to argue against RPFI being given the money earned by SFI. As it is, Gene has a good case because of the unjust system of payments.

  4. Well, seems like Lance is better off staying at Williams.
    Makes a lot of sense for teams like Haas and McLaren to wait to confirm their line up. Presumably, Sergio goes to McLaren (rumors are doing the rounds). Poor Ocon…Mercedes are probably better off loaning him out to (say) STR.

  5. Steiner doing a bad act of playing dumb – he knows full well what is going on, just like he knows full well that any delay or cost implications to RPFI only benefits HAAS.

    As much as I love F1, I do detest how snakey the paddock and it’s players are… They could do a cracking trashy reality TV show with all the bitching and backstabbing that goes on off the track.

    1. F1’s description as a shark tank has been earned over the decades, @joeypropane

    2. It doesn’t just benefit Haas @joeypropane, it benefits all the other teams. The teams are paid out of a common pot, so if you take one team out of that there is more to go around for everyone.

      1. Oh I know, I just think it’s funny that these team personnel always play the “seeking clarification” card – It’s the same as when a team protests or lobbies for the ban of an aero or mechanical innovation “until they get clarification”, when they know full well if something is legal or not, they just want to stall whoever it is using it until they can implement something similar (double diffuser, for example).

        1. Michael Ward
          31st August 2018, 5:49

          “seeking clarification” = “We’ll need a little bit of money from FOM before we agree”. HAAS will agree and FOM will pay HAAS a “signing fee”, Racing Point Force India has powerful friends, if it collapses over this many people will look foolish, HAAS knows this, they will toe the line, they’re just fishing for a bit of T.V. money first. It’s an old F1 tradition.

          1. And Haas deserves that money if a new team is allowed to enter competition without complying with the terms HaasF1 did. Rules and regulations have not changed. They should be enforced uniformly for everyone.

      2. It’s The Piranha Club.

    3. im sorry how is steiner wrong? and how is he being obtuse? racing points is a new team and a new license. the old team was tied up with the debt collectors and therefore in administration couldnt easily have been transferred. so stroll bought the assets to use IN A NEW COMPANY. those are the rules. you can’t give prize money to a team that was just created, while asking other teams that were created had to wait years for money.

      again, the company wasnt bought, the assets were. if they wanted to do it the other way it would take a long time and may still be tied up with indian debt collectors. its just fair dude. or throw money haas’ way. its not a difficult issue. every other team signed because they aren’t new teams…….they have no dog in the fight.

      why should stroll and racing points get special treatment, after all the special treatment they already got (always asking for advances of money from FOM – where haas never said no)?

  6. HAAS bought the headquarters and I would assume quite a bit of equipment from Manor. Since he was staffing up at a time two teams were folding I would assume he hired at least a decent percentage of their staff that previously worked at Manor and Caterham. I can see why they want answers.

  7. Im with Gene, if Stroll wanted to do it the proper way (buying it as going concern and not assets only) he could stay out for a few weeks to get it soted with the banks and the team would not have any problem to continue racing at a later time (up to three races). The new owners have enough money to keep the team running.

    1. well said nicholas.

  8. Let’s face does daddy care his little boy has a better car.

  9. Force India were quick to stick nails into Manor’s coffin so I’m hardly surprised to see them get a bit of grief over this. Besides, Papa Stroll could have bought the team in full and simply renamed them but he chose to buy only the assets instead so I think Haas have every right to question it rather than let them gain a competitive advantage from it.

    1. @alec-glen Stroll couldn’t buy ‘the team in full’ as you call it. In reality he did buy ‘the team’ the only thing he couldn’t buy was the F1 entry as Vijay’s Indian debtors (banks) wouldn’t allow it. He bought everything he could.

      1. @asanator Well he could… if he’d have paid Vijay’s debt or reached some sort of settlement :P I’ve not seen anything explicitly stating that the banks vetoed the idea though and there’s no benefit to them in holding a lien against a company of no value, assets or prize money coming. I’m sure timing is a factor also tbf.

        1. @alec-glen Vijay’s debt was at least 3 times more than the team was worth, entry & all. That’s why he never managed to sell it – he wanted £/€/whatever it was 450 million+ for the assets & the entry.

          Stroll (and, by extension, the team) is better off in the current situation, even if he loses the TV money.

        2. Would you be willing to service someone else’s 1 million dollar debt? I seriously doubt it.

  10. I’m not surprised. Force India have been very publicly critical of Haas’ success, I’ve seen a lot of snide remarks.

    Could be completely unconnected….

  11. I maintain that someone outside the teams should determine whether a team is eligible for or not, and then put arguments behind their decision. It shouldn’t rest on the team that have interests tied with those teams losing the money.

    It baffles me that all teams beside Haas agreed. There’s no reason why they should, in their own interests. It’s not fair but if they ask them, of course they’ll do whatever is good for themselves.

    So they shouldn’t ask them. FIA, FOM, whoever, should make the decision and just impose it to the others like them or not.

    1. Fia and FOM can act on there own, but than they would have to stick to their own rules. Meaning RPFI can forget about price money. Not very strange all teams have to accept it if the governing body wants to break its own rules. Those rules are there for a reason I guess…

    2. Might possibly be like some bills passed in the US Congress: Sometimes people vote for something that makes them look good with the full understanding that it will never pass the Senate or be signed by the President. They can go on record as having supported something without paying the price. In this case, they may have known Haas would block it in the end. On the other hand, it’s clear that there were several versions of that “waiver” sent around, and the teams that signed did not all sign the same thing. And then someone pulled the switcheroo with the entity owning the entry license, which tainted any agreement the teams had signed to “waive” and costs for Force India.

  12. Mark in Florida
    30th August 2018, 17:32

    The problem is that it set’s a precedence in how F1 does things. They made it hard on Gene for two years but he took his medicine until it it was over. Lawrence is the owner of a new team, why should he catch a break when it’s similar name to the old FI. If Stroll is a big spender let him take his lumps just like Gene did.

  13. petebaldwin (@)
    30th August 2018, 17:43

    I’m with Haas on this one – I can’t understand why they’d apply a different set of rules to Stroll than the other teams. It’s not about saving jobs – Stroll has more money down the back of his sofa than they’d make in Col-1 money.

    1. @petebaldwin Haas’ standing in this aside, they (FIA and FOM) can’t make decisions and give explanations based on how much money they presume a bloke has available to invest. The depth of his pockets is irrelevant. Or, if you think they should consider that, why shouldn’t Stroll counter with the jobs saved argument? It’s not a small thing to keep a team on the grid. Losing them, any team, would not look good, not reflect well on an F1 trying to pump itself up.

  14. just simplify the payout schedule. win the Constructor’s Championship the team get x amount of dollars finish 2nd you get y amount of dollars, etc. it shouldn’t matter if you’re a new team or an old team.

    1. FOM can’t touch the payment schedules until at least 2021 because Bernie split the Concorde Agreement into team-by-team agreements, with Renault a year behind the rest (most other teams are contracted till 2020).

  15. Haas are closely fighting teams like Force India hence this approach, but it’s crazy that they’ve had such help starting out from the likes of Ferrari and what not and have been performing well and then they go hinder a great team like Force India who’ve been working hard for years to get to this point in terms of performance.

    1. It’s not help, it’s good management and a working strategy. Ferrari benefits from the ‘help’. Consequently FI has had poor management inspite of its successes. As the last team to enter f1, Haas has the most interest in how fair a deal their direct competition gets as they are technically a new team wearing the same clothes. Maybe you should consider that FI may not have been managing their team as well as everyone says, and haas believe they should get their lumps and not a get their cake and eat it too.

    2. So Ferrari help is gratuitous?

      I think the FIA needs to change the rule, i know they have the rule to make a team really commit to F1, and do no enter and get out with prize money in their pockets. But if the team remains in F1 they should get money from their 2nd season.

      1. I think Liberty Media need to change the rules on how the teams are paid, but that won’t happen until 2020, or is it 2021? So the rule is RPFI are a new entrant, so they don’t get the Column 1 payments. As far as I know they are entitled to the Column 2 payments, and currently they are in the top 10 point scoring teams, so they will get some payment.
        In addition, teams are allowed to display advertising on their cars, so there’s no reason why Lawrence can’t get some of his corporates to buy space on the RPFI cars.

  16. Seems strange to me that everybody thought that all teams had agreed that RPFI could keep their prize money but now HAAS are saying they didn’t agree, I don’t suppose this has anything to do with them being outperformed by RPFI in Belgium … or I am just being cynical.

  17. What Haas did when they entered the league was an amazing undertaking and they deserve all of the credit they are due.
    Yes, Stroll and company have the advantage of taking on a complete an operating team. If they hadn’t, then forums like this would be discussing how to get back to 20 cars on the grid and how long will Williams last.
    One thing that Haas did not have to do is take on the debts and immediate liabilities of an existing Force India Team. This includes paying out to the engine supplier, employees of whom there are quite a few, drivers, and what I expect are a significant number of other creditors waiting in the wings. Outfits that supply parts, tooling (like Haas) and technical support.
    In a sense, Stroll may have been able to save a bundle if he had let the chips fall and then jump in to pick up the pieces at 10 cents on the dollar, so to speak.
    At this point, it is moot to speculate on whether he should have left the team out of the three races permitted without some discussion whether or not there would be an opportunity to get back into running for the remaining races. Somehow I doubt that the major creditors would have stood for that and they may have wound up pushing the cars around the track without engines. There is also the issue of sponsors and the commitments to them. An interruption of 3 races would undoubtedly have forced a change in Team Colors by the time they got back on-track.
    Yes it is complex and Haas does have a point. But consider the value to Formula 1 and all the teams, that it has transpired this way rather than what would have been a very messy and acrimonious process.
    One problem is that the RPFI Team is too good and they will likely get into the points at every race remaining this year. Put that down to the price of success.

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