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Szafnauer delighted as Force India rescued by Stroll-backed group

Written by  Aug 09, 2018

COO Otmar Szafnauer is thrilled a period of "anxiety" and "trepidation" is over after a consortium backed by Lawrence Stroll rescued Force India from administration this week.

The Silverstone-backed squad entered the process of looking for new owners on the Friday at the Hungarian Grand Prix after a claim for unpaid bills by driver Sergio Perez and backed by Mercedes.

It was insisted the move was to guarantee the future of Force India, who were facing a winding-up order which would have put them out of business, and that has now been secured.

“This outcome secures the future of the Force India team in Formula 1 and will allow our team of racers to compete to our full potential,” Szafnauer said when the news broke on Tuesday.

“I am delighted that we have the support of a consortium of investors who believe in us as a team and who see the considerable business potential that Force India has within F1 now and in the future.

“At Force India, our expertise and commitment has meant that we have always punched above our weight and this new investment ensures that we have a bright future ahead of us."

Though the situation surrounding the team was always considered less serious than the likes of HRT, Caterham and Manor, all of which entered F1 in 2010 but were gone by 2016, memories of their demise did weigh on the 400+ employees.

"There was a lot of trepidation amongst all the team members, and a lot of anxiety, because we didn’t know where it was going to go," the American chief added.

"It’s a huge relief to know there’s a future for the team. We’ll be able to continue as a normal Formula 1 team."

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While the investment is guaranteed, a final agreement to buy the team from Vijay Mallya remains a final hurdle, Szafnauer is confident it is all procedural, however, as he considered where Force India goes from here.

"It’s early days, I would hope they would keep the senior management on," he said. "This just happened, I haven’t sat down with the new owners to say ‘what do you want to do?’.

"In the near future, we’ll have all those conversations. But that’s looking forwards, not looking backwards."

With Lawrence Stroll at the helm, it is widely expected his son Lance will be following his father out of Williams at the end of the season.

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