Force India to be renamed Racing Point for 2019

The Force India team will officially be known as Racing Point for the 2019 Formula One season.

The change was confirmed with the release of the official 2019 championship entry list, which was finalised after Force India had completed the 20-driver grid by announcing Lance Stroll as Sergio Perez’s teammate for the season. Stroll is the son of Canadian billionaire Lawrence, who led a consortium to purchase the team after it fell into administration in August.

From that point on it was effectively rebooted as ‘Racing Point Force India’ in the championship, a different entity to the ‘Sahara Force India’ team it had been previously, starting again on zero points in the constructors’ championship. The team will officially take on the name of the consortium for next year, meaning the Force India title will be absent from the grid for the first time since 2007.

The team had gone through several changes before then. Although it also enjoyed stints as Spyker and MF1, it was most famously known as Jordan between 1991 and 2005.

The entry list also confirmed a few other changes, albeit to the full titles of two other teams. Mission Winnow will now be title sponsor for Ferrari after entering a partnership with the Italian team earlier this year. The list also confirmed that Haas will be known officially as ‘Rich Energy Haas F1’.

Rookie numbers revealed

The list also revealed which numbers two of the three rookies set to line up on next year’s grid will take. As of 2014, drivers pick a permanent number to accompany their entire career.

Newly-crowned Formula Two champion George Russell has picked number 63 ahead of his first season with Williams. His teammate, the returning Robert Kubica — back on an F1 grid for the first time since the 2011 rallying crash which nearly led to the amputation of his right arm — will race with 88.

McLaren’s Lando Norris has chosen number four, which previously belonged to fellow Englishman Max Chilton. The regulations state a number can only be reallocated once a driver has not participated in a race for two consecutive seasons — Chilton has not raced since the end of the 2014 season, so his number ha become available for use again. The third 2019 newcomer, Toro Rosso’s Alexander Albon, is yet to choose his.

Antonio Giovinazzi is not a rookie in the proper sense of the word, having contested two races for Sauber in 2017, but has picked number 99 ahead of his first full season on the grid with the same team.

Seventeen is the only unused number not available to any driver. It was officially retired following the death of Jules Bianchi, who died in 2015 due to injuries sustained in an accident at the previous year’s Japanese Grand Prix.