New F1 Owner Stroll Expects Team To Be A Profitable Business
Force India Owner Lawrence Stroll "believes that he can achieve a rare feat" in Formula 1 by "turning one of its teams into a profitable business," according to Ian Parkes of the N.Y. TIMES. Stroll, a Canadian billionaire, formed a consortium that "saved" the team in August "after it had been placed in administration on July 27." Geoff Rowley, one of the joint administrators from London-based FRP Advisory, said Stroll's group presented a "highly credible offer to save the company and restore solvency." Stroll -- whose son, Lance, has driven for Williams for the past two seasons and will join Force India next season -- "claims that he previously had no interest in becoming a team owner." He said, "I’ve always believed Formula 1 is a sport where you need to be a large manufacturer, such as Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault, in order to justify the expenditure to make it work. From a pure business perspective, there isn’t a team that makes a profit like a traditional business. It’s more a manufacturers’ game, or a marketing exercise, like for a fizzy-drinks company, or it’s been a rich man’s trophy. I have never really fallen into any of those categories." Stroll is the managing partner of the consortium, which includes the Canadian entrepreneur André Desmarais, Monaco Sports & Management's Jonathan Dudman, Michael Kors Holdings Chair & CEO John Idol, telecom investor John McCaw Jr., Engel & Volkërs Vice Chair Michael de Picciotto and Stroll’s business partner Silas Chou. Stroll said, “We’ve done many other deals together that they’ve been part of.”
COMING ON BOARD: Stroll added that the team had "punched way above its weight" for many years. It finished fourth in the constructors’ championship in '16 and '17, "despite operating on only a third of the budget and less than half of the personnel of the three teams ahead of it: Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull." Stroll: "If this team had been running last, it wouldn’t have worked. It is because of how they have performed, on the budget they have had, that this opportunity has been realized. I’m not in this for ego. I’m not in this to lose money. I’m in this for the long term." Force India driver Sergio Pérez said that "not many people realized what the team had been going through, but was upbeat about the arrival of Stroll and his group." Pérez: "We had no budget, no improvements, and we didn’t know if we were going to make the rest of the season" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/1).
NAME GAME: REUTERS' Alan Baldwin reported the Force India moniker "will disappear" from F1 next season "after 11 years of competition, with the British-based team entering as Racing Point F1 on a list" published by FIA. The "chassis name was listed as Racing Point, with the company name Racing Point UK Limited." Ferrari’s "official team name also changes to Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow and Haas becomes Rich Energy Haas F1 team to reflect sponsorship arrangements" (REUTERS, 12/1).