Szafnauer feared Force India wouldn’t make it

Date published: August 8 2018

Otmar Szafnauer feared Force India wouldn't make it

Force India chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer admits there was moments he feared Force India would ceased to exist like former teams Caterham and Manor.

There was great news for Force India this week as the team was saved from administration by a consortium led by Lawrence Stroll.

The Canadian billionaire, father of Williams driver Lance Stroll, agreed a deal with the joint administrators that will all 405 jobs saved as well as all existing creditors paid in full.

While the finer details still need to be worked out, “funding to support the team will be made available” immediately with “significantly more” available when the team exits administration.

Szafnauer breathed a sigh of relief as Force India managed to avoid following Caterham and Manor out of F1.

“Once we went into administration, there were a couple that have been there and didn’t come out,” he told Autosport.

“So, there is 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.

“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.”

But while the team is safe, Szafnauer admits he doesn’t whether he or Bob Fernley will have a role under the new ownership.

“It’s early days,” he said. “I would hope they would keep the senior management on.

“This just happened, I haven’t sat down with the new owners to say ‘what do you want to do?’.”

The deal is also expected to lead to a new driver line up with Lance Stroll almost assured of a race seat at his father’s team.

A new name could also be on the cards.

Szafnauer added: “In the near future, we’ll have all those conversations. But that’s looking forwards, not looking backwards.”

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