Mexico City – The Force India Formula 1 team has requested an advance on their 2016 championship money to help tide them through the northern winter and pay suppliers.
Deputy team principal Bob Fernley told Reuters the request was for a payment similar to the one Force India received from commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone before the start of this season.
Bring it forward
Fernley said on Wednesday (Oct 28) ahead of the Mexican Grand Prix: “The only difference between what we did at the beginning of this year and what we are planning for 2016 is just bringing it forward a month or so earlier to cash-flow it better.
“We don’t want suppliers suffering, obviously. We know we’ve got to draw down because we need it through the northern winter period because we don’t get any payments…we’re being a bit more proactive this year in making sure we’re ahead of the game rather than behind it.”
F1 teams receive payments monthly, from February to the end of November, from the commercial rights holder.
The sums reflect where the team finished in the previous season as well as historic performance.
Fernley said Ecclestone was supportive, despite Force India and Sauber in September asking European Union authorities to investigate F1’s governance and distribution of revenues.
Force India, Sauber and Lotus received advances this year to help with cash-flow problems after tail-enders Marussia and now-defunct Caterham went into administration.
Unsecured creditors, mostly small suppliers, had significant amounts owed by those two teams and subsequently demanded advance payment from others rather than allowing credit.
The situation since then has not been helped by Lotus struggling to stay afloat, despite talk of an imminent takeover by French car giant Renault.
Bailiffs impounded the Lotus cars in Belgium last August and the team has faced repeated legal actions brought by creditors.
British-based Force India, who has Mexican Sergio Perez and Germany’s Nico Hulkenberg confirmed as drivers for 2016 and use Mercedes engines, contract out much of their chassis work to keep costs down.
The team, whose co-owners Vijay Mallya and the Sahara Group are embroiled in financial troubles in India, suffered delays to the build of their new car this year and missed most of pre-season testing.
“What we’ve asked Bernie to do is put it through process and he’s obliged with that,” said Fernley. “We’ve asked for it to start at the end of November because that’s when our payments stop.”