Force India F1 team may run under new name later in 2018 season

Force India could run under a new identity in Formula 1 this season if the FIA is satisfied that relevant legal issues have been properly addressed

It is understood that the team may be allowed by the FIA to run under its usual name at Spa if a situation with the new entry cannot be resolved in time.

An unexpected situation arose last week when plans for a consortium led by Lawrence Stroll to take the team out of administration could not be completed within the two-week deadline, mainly because of legal problems surrounding shareholders Vijay Mallya and the Sahara Group.

Consent from 13 Indian banks was required for the deal to go through, while it is understood that there was also a lien from drinks company Diageo in relation to a loan made to Mallya.

Failed bidder Uralkali suggested on Tuesday that the sale process was flawed, noting that "despite expiration of the deadline set by the Administrator, no rescue plan was submitted to the court for approval, which confirmed Uralkali's view that the rescue option was not achievable in the timeline and under conditions proposed by the administrator."

Late last week Stroll switched strategy and bought the assets of the team - its cars, Silverstone factory, equipment and everything required to run a team.

The actual entry in theory still belongs to Force India, which remains in administration but now has no physical assets.

The entry is usually regarded as a valuable element of any team sale, but the move by Renault, McLaren and Williams to block the transfer of commercial rights to Force India's new owners, meaning the team would not get the prize money it accrued in recent seasons, had already created a stumbling block.

This meant making a fresh start was not as much of a penalty as it would otherwise have been.

Although FIA sporting regulations specify teams have to enter for the following season by November 30, Article 8.1 appears to leave the door open for changes at a later date.

It reads: "Applications at other times will only be considered if a place is available and on payment of a late entry fee to be fixed by the FIA. Entry forms will be made available by the FIA who will notify the applicant of the result of the application within thirty days of its receipt."

A space is therefore available as the new team will replace itself, and in the context of the overall deal a late entry fee will be a minor consideration for Stroll.

The process of creating a new entry from an existing team is a complex one, with the Concorde Agreement to be considered as well as FIA regulations.

One legal complication is that an F1 team's entry has to be submitted via an ASN, which would previously have been India's.

Force India logos and references to Vijay Mallya's companies Kingfisher and UB Group were stripped from the team's trucks and signage at Spa on Wednesday.

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