Lawrence Stroll says he bought Force India because it was a “phenomenal business opportunity”.
The Canadian billionaire and fashion mogul sponsored his teenage son Lance at Williams in 2017 and 2018, but the British team’s performance crashed this year.
At the same time, Force India – an impressive upper-midfield team – almost collapsed financially.
Stroll rescued Force India and has officially renamed it Racing Point for 2019. His son Lance, 20, has finally been announced as a race driver for the team.
“While I’ve been a great admirer of the sport and obviously a great supporter since my son has been a driver, I never really anticipated owning a team, wanting a team,” Lawrence told the New York Times.
“But, put simply, this was a phenomenal business opportunity that presented itself.”
Stroll, 59, is a leading name behind brands like Pierre Cardin, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger, but he said F1 team ownership is normally more for car manufacturers and “fizzy drinks” makers.
But he says Force India is different.
“If this team had been running last, it wouldn’t have worked,” Stroll said. “It is because of how they have performed, on the budget they have had, that this opportunity has been realised.
“I’m not in this for ego. I’m not in this to lose money. I’m in this for the long term, as I have been with every other business I’ve owned,” he added.
Stroll said the expected budget cap for 2021 should help.
“That is still to be clarified how well that works out, but there are all the right rumblings, and I’ve had enough conversations with Chase (Carey) to understand that is the direction they want and need to take the business,” he said.
Stroll said plans for a new factory and more staff makes the ambition of challenging for “third place” realistic.