Todt casts doubt on Force India’s prize money share

2018 F1 season

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FIA president Jean Todt says there is not unanimous agreement between Force India’s rival teams for it to receive the prize money it earned before it was rescued from administration.

At least one team principal, Guenther Steiner, has confirmed his team has not signed a document entitling Force India to receive its ‘Column 1’ prize money since it has returned to the sport as a new entrant.

Speaking to media including RaceFans at Monza today, Todt said he believed not all teams have given their consent for Force India to receive the money.

“On the commercial matters, as you know the FIA is not directly involved in the commercial matters, but of course you are informed,” he said.

“To [protect] the financial benefit you need unanimous agreement of the teams and I understand that it has not been unanimous agreement of the teams. So in the case it’s considered as a new team.”

However Force India team principal Otmar Szafnauer believes otherwise. “As far as I know it, I think everyone’s agreed to allow the prize money that was earned by the old Force India to continue to be paid to the new Force India,” he said yesterday.

In response to a question from RaceFans, Szafnauer said the document Steiner signed refers to the team having been sold as a ‘going concern’, which he believes means they retain the right to the monies.

“I think he signed something else,” said Szafnauer. “In the piece of paper that he signed, if I remember right, it says ‘going concern’. He may be confused, I don’t know, thinking that we’re not a going concern, but we are.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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7 comments on “Todt casts doubt on Force India’s prize money share”

  1. Now that Stroll has become the owner of Force India, can we expect him to pump in a lot more money than the previous owners? I mean, it would be to his son’s benefit for sure, and god knows he’s invested a lot in his hobby.

    1. Don’t forget it’s not just Stroll. It’s a group of investors. And I’d be surprised if they’re just going to sit on their hands and be happy to stagnate. Don’t forget too, this is also Lawrence’s hobby. He’s been hanging around F1 since before Lance was born.

  2. The way I see it, if this was taken to an actual federal court of law, they would be deemed a new team due to the name change and therefore the contractual changes needed. FIA and FOM are not a federal court of law though and so for me common sense says they’re a going concern and that is what makes them different than a brand brand new team like Haas was. But if the FIA and/or FOM law book says all teams must agree, then perhaps they won’t and Todt will abide by that. Hard to say. Since it isn’t an actual court of law they could give reasons and explanations and still have FI keep the prize money status. Either way, I’m sure the new group of investors are not wholely dependent on this prize money to carry on with their plans. It would just be nice for them. If the deal had hinged on them retaining prize money they would have made sure of their status on that ahead of time.

    Whether I am technically correct in saying this or not, I don’t think anyone can deny this team is a going concern and not a brand new team. Haas themselves as we know raised some eyebrows with the way they pushed the legal limits when they purchased the absolute maximum number of components from Ferrari that they legally could and still call themselves a new team. So they do understand when things can approach shades of grey. I just don’t see how they can say with a straight face that FI’s situation now is the same as it was for them as a brand new entrant. Haas did not just buy a team and change it’s name, let alone a team that had already run over half the season’s races as a going concern.

    1. @robbie Contractually, it’s a new team due to the holding company being different. This is why a vote has to be taken with unanimous agreement from all other teams to grant an exception to the usual rule (of the new team not being eligible to receive TV rights money). A court of law would almost certainly point to the contract and say it was binding unless the unanimous agreement could be proven. That the team is functionally continuous in its existence is irrelevant.

      It is possible that Otmar did not know about the paperwork problem when he said he understood every team had agreed, but the situation is strange.

  3. If Liberty has managed to mess up getting the voting process through (which it sounds like it has)… …I’m rather surprised. I do not understand why two versions of the voting document would even need to exist in the first place.

    1. Read dieters write up. It is very clear. The consortium chose this path and they didnt have to. You have to operate within the rules, esoecially when you have other new teams that have and suffered for it. Sorry, you can’t cut corners and claim to be right. Now if Haas can let this go by, which is a HUGE ask, and will diminish their own chances at success, then I’d be fine e with that too. Just give Haas all that money, done. That would go a long way to smoothing it over.

  4. Mark in Florida
    1st September 2018, 17:45

    My reading of the situation is that the first document was to be as a going concern which Gene had no problems with. However problems with the creditors blocked this because VJ made himself the main debtor. So Laurence didn’t want to give VJ any money, somewhere around 152 million. So that deal fell through then Laurence bought the assets of the team like it’s a garage sale buy out. That’s when Gene had the problem. You can’t force one team to abide by the rules and then make exceptions for someone else. It’s also been stated that FI blocked money payments to marrussia and HRT so no real pity for Ottmar and crew because they were part of it. Strange how the worm turns isn’t it ?

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