F orce India is now officially called' Racing Point Force India ' . However, this is only an emergency solution so that Force India could survive. Racing Point is the company that bought Force India's assets. So the group of investors around Lawrence Stroll. The word Force India has to stay in the name because that's the name of the chassis. The FIA does not allow chassis names to be changed during the season. “The fans shouldn't be confused,” explains new team boss Otmar Szafnauer.
Next year, the Silverstone team will probably compete under a completely new name. This would permanently erase the Force India chapter. 'But then all the teams have to agree again', Szafnauer points out. The team could almost hear the sigh of relief after the last minute rescue.
Lawrence Stroll, the new strong man in the team, has also promised that Force India will continue with the existing structure and not the B-Team from Mercedes will. Of course, the Canadian also has personal interests. He wants to get his son Lance out of the ailing Williams team as soon as possible and place him in the much more competitive Force India. Preferably in Monza.
Does Ocon transfer fail due to body size?
But before that happens, a few more chairs have to go crazy. Ocon has a contract with Force India. He will only vacate his seat if a replacement is found for him. Unfortunately everything is tight at the moment. Sauber and HaasF1 had to cancel.
Only at McLarena door could open. Which would also be in the interests of McLaren, because team boss Zak Brown is also interested in the Frenchman for 2019. Ocon's representative Toto Wolff made it clear that Ocon would ideally sign by the end of 2019.
However, you would have to buy Stoffel Vandoorne from your current contract. Obviously, the Belgian cannot simply be kicked out. So father Stroll would have to dig into his pocket again to get the transfer carousel going. Since there are only seven days left until Monza, the big driver swap could be tight. In the paddock the story is told that Ocon had already made a seat test at McLaren. But the 1.86 meter tall Frenchman should not fit in the cockpit. That could prevent a transfer and thus the big driver swap.
The procedure would then look like this: Lance Stroll to Force India, Robert Kubica as a Stroll replacement at Williams, Esteban Ocon to McLaren. Szafnauer curbs expectations: “I don't think the driver changes will take place that quickly. In the short term everything will probably stay the same. ”Maybe the castling will only start in Singapore.
Force India would like to end the season with Perez and Ocon and has also informed the new strong man at Force India . The racing team started with zero points at Spa and now needs every point to at least overtake Williams, Sauber and Toro Rosso. The higher you climb, the more the cash register rings at the end of the season.
And that works better with the well-rehearsed Ocon than with Stroll, who first has to find his way around in the new car. For 2019, however, everything is already clear. Then Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll drive for a team whose name we don't know yet.
Driver market 2019: Leclerc to Haas, Russell to Williams?
It will definitely be difficult for Vandoorne to secure a cockpit for 2019. Another pilot who could fall by the wayside is Romain Grosjean. The place at Haasnext to Kevin Magnussen will probably get Ferrari junior Charles Leclerc. At Sauber, next to Marcus Ericsson, Antonio Giovinazzi, the next talent from the Ferrari junior squad will be used.
It is still unclear who will replace Lance Stroll at Williams in 2019. Dmitry Mazepin, the father of Nikita Mazepin, is supposed to join as an investor and close the financial gap of the Stroll clan. But his son is not yet an F1 driver due to a lack of super license points. Formula 2 leader George Russel is therefore said to have good chances. Mercedes could sweeten Williams' commitment to its own junior pilot with a discount on the drive package.
There are still free cockpits left at Toro Rosso, the occupation of which is still completely unclear. During the summer break, there was a lot of public discussion about signing McLaren junior Lando Norris. In return, McLaren should get earlier access to technical director James Key. But Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko waves it aside: “We don't do barter deals with McLaren.”
If Lando Norris wants to go to Toro Rosso, McLaren has to release him for nothing. According to the team responsible, Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne should not be a candidate for a Toro Rosso cockpit. Maybe Brendon Hartley will still keep his cockpit in the end despite mixed performances due to a lack of alternatives.