Racing Point Force India continues to punch well above its weight, despite only being rescued from administration weeks ago, by the Lawrence Stroll-led consortium…
The now-British licenced team rejoined the sport from Belgium, without its points from the first 12 races – but Esteban Ocon and Sergio Pérez locked out the second row in qualifying, staying out on slicks when most opted for intermediates in increasingly wet conditions.
And in the race, the pair went four-wide with the leaders on Lap 1 – when Pérez passed Ocon for third, before dropping back to finish fifth and sixth.
The VJM11’s aero efficiency also paid off in Monza: Ocon promoted to sixth, Pérez seventh, for a second-straight double points finish, taking its total haul to 32, two ahead of Toro Rosso after two events.
But conversations behind the scenes are still ongoing regarding the sale… with unsuccessful parties disputing the administration process.
The real focus, though, is the team’s 2019 line-up – with Stroll’s son Lance to join – with the team confirming he’s already had a seat fit, but who he’ll replace is the big question.
It’s understood that Pérez signed a renewal with the team before sending Force India into administration, ensuring he’s got a drive – but it’s alleged his contract can be novated, or moved, should he be paid enough.
… but he won’t be going back to McLaren, the team he raced for in 2013, with Lando Norris now confirmed for next year.
SOUNDBITE (English) LANDO NORRIS,
McLAREN DRIVER, 2019:
“I’m focusing on F2 for this season, and maybe next year it can develop into an F1 drive.”
A strong alternative for Perez could be American outfit Haas, with the squad running at the front of the midfield.
The more likely scenario, though, is that Ocon will move, however his path to a Williams drive could now be blocked – with Mercedes reported to have plans for its young gun George Russell to race there.
It makes for exciting times, with plenty on the line as the team prepares for the end-of-season flyaways - starting next week in Singapore.