Formula 1 is a great sport to watch. Although many fans cheer for big teams like Ferrari and Mercedes, there are plenty of smaller, newer teams to root for. The newest team technically joined Formula 1 in mid-2018, but they’ve got more history than that. Here’s a look at SportPesa Racing Point, the newest Formula 1 team.
The early years of SportPesa Racing Point
Racing Point’s history actually goes back over a decade. Formed by a combination of two smaller teams, MF1 and Jordan, Spyker Team was bought and renamed to Force India in 2008. As its new name implied, Force India was owned by a group led by an Indian billionaire named Dr. Vijay Mallya.
Despite being a relatively small-scale team compared to bigger players, Force India punched above its weight. In 2014, Sergio Perez helped his team finish in third place during the Bahrain Grand Prix. For the season, Force India came in sixth place — the best season overall for the team.
In terms of the Constructor Championships, which measures the quality of the cars, Force India also punched above its weight. The team didn’t win any medals, but it did get a fourth-place finish in the 2016 season, its best result in this competition. However, not long after, Force India faced financial issues and that’s when the team became what it is today.
SportPesa Racing Point
In the middle of the 2018 season, Force India became Racing Point. Due to the total change of management, Racing Point lost the points it had earned earlier in the season as Force India. Despite this, the team still finished seventh, which is decent given the circumstances.
Force India was bought by Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll, who changed some things. However, many of the nuts and bolts remain the same. Perez, Force India’s star driver, is still driving for the team. The car built and used by Force India is largely the same. The Racing Point RP19 is designed like many Formula 1 cars and has a powerful Mercedes engine.
One of the bigger changes though was that Stroll’s son, Lance Stroll, joined the team and replaced Force India’s other driver, Esteban Ocon.
The rest of the team
The team chief, who’s the leader of the team, remained unchanged. Otmar Szafnauer will continue leading Racing Point for the foreseeable future. Other senior staff also stayed on through the transition. For example, technical chief Andrew Greene, sporting chief Andy Stevenson, and commercial chief Steve Curnow have all stayed.
Most of the regular employees who worked for Force India likely stuck with the team after it became Racing Point. The mechanics and pit crews probably stuck around, too. Racing Point continued to race in the 2018 season after it bought out Force India, so it wouldn’t be wise to continue the season with a brand-new team.
Force India’s test track driver, Nick Yelloly, also stuck around through the transition. Other than Ocon being replaced by Stroll’s son, it’s not clear how different Racing Point is from Force India. At the end of the day though, both teams strived for the same thing: a championship win.