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Di Resta confirmed debate
I am amazed at the people who are certain Paul Di Resta is driving for Force India in 2013. I have been repeatedly questioned in my assertion that Force India have not announced this. Prior to today I’ve been repeatedly told he has a seat fitting and that Vijay told us in September he would be offering an extension to his drivers – as rumours of Hulkenbergs departure began to surface.
We’ve seen today the value of an F1 driving ‘contract’ as the likeable Timo Glock departs F1. For those ‘unbelievers’ who think Di Resta is a done deal, google something like ‘Force India announce Di Resta’ – and you will see a plethora of news stories about the announcements made for the season just ended.
Where is the 2013 confirmation. Further, Formula1.com, who can be tardy at times, have for some time refused to put up Di Rest’a name against the Force India logo, so both driver picture slots are blank. Formula1.com. They have been contacted to point out a possible ‘oversight’ with a view to getting this matter corrected. They apparently have ‘no confirmation of this appointment and have not intentionally or unintentionally misrepresented the position of the Force India team line up’.
It may be that Paul Di Resta does drive for Force India in 2013 – but there are lengthy conversations going on over the ownership of Force India, who its partners will be and therefore there are a number of parties who have influence on who will drive for the team in 2013.
A Team for sale
Most things in life are for sale at the right price, so to suggest Force India are up for sale is hardly the news of the century. However, TJ13 reported on Friday, “Whispers that FI have a ‘concrete offer’ on the table to sell” talks between Bernie Ecclestone, Flavio Briatore and Colin Kolles over matters financial pertaining to the Force India team.
For those not in the know, the Formula.com website is owned and run by FOM – the company that manages the commercial side of F1 – under the auspices of one Mr. Bernie Ecclestone.
Where is Vijay’s announced $80m investment coming from?
In indignant Bob Fearnley responding to the reports last Friday insisted any sale of the team was a preposterous idea, insisting “Our shareholder Vijay and Sahara are incredibly strong. They don’t need partners. As we speak, we are putting together and implementing an expansion programme that Vijay talked about at the end of last year”.
He added something I found quite revealing, “For the last four years, coming now to our fifth year, the team the team has been financed without any dependence on the shareholders’ companies that they own”.
This is either true or a blatant cover up, which would be not unfair to expect from Bob – as his role at Force India for some time is akin to the small boy in the Dutch folk tale – who has most importantly put his finger in hole of the dyke.
If it is true, then I’m speechless. I explain in Friday’s article how the Force India website and the presentation of their sponsors is set up – and this statement belies belief whilst perversely adding credence to the ‘up for sale’ and ‘new investor’ stories all the more.
The announced investment Bob refers to followed the usual round of chats Mr. Ecclestone has in November to discover who is still solvent and likely to make the grid in Melbourne. The ‘investment’ was new money, nothing to do with Concorde deals or prize funds for the WCC finishing position. If the shareholders’ companies are not coughing up, then who is? The list of ‘minor sponsors’ do not have that kind of interest or clout.
One think is for certain, Vijay, the so called ‘King of good times’ and his pal, amusingly named Subrata Roy of Sahara (not of the desert) – are masters at self publicity and wouldn’t shirk a chance to tell the world it was them investing in the Silverstone based team.
That aside – Vijay and Rob Roy have the biggest fight on each of their hands to save their respective Indian empires as the national authorities are closing in. thejudge13 has followed these tales since September at launch – use the search bar and find the ‘Mallya’ and ‘Force India’ reports – there are many.
Engines for 2014
It has been widely rumoured that Force India tare talking to Ferrari about 2014 engines, and due to the misconception over Di Resta, the stories have pretty much run along the lines that Ferrari want the young french driver Jules Bianchi to take the Hulkenberg seat.
TJ13 reader enzomaiorca commented today in another article, “there are some new rumors in the Italian media, that there are some lifelines for Force India besides being (partly) sold, if they decide to use Ferrari engines in 2014, give Bianchi a seat and become a satellite team for the Scuderia, they would get the engines for a very friendly price, and with the new turbo engines costing clients up to €20 million a year, it’s a substantial financial injection.
That would give them some air, not Di Resta though,because they could combine the Bianchi/Ferrari deal with the arrival of Luiz Razia, the young Brazilian is said to bring with him a $30 million sponsor budget, if Force India could seal both deals the future looks bright again. Di Resta’s nervousness is very understandable, he could be on his way out.”
Bianchi/Razia at Force India?
I was trading email with an Italian friend of mine last week who is connected with F1 and he suggested Razia to me then, following comments he made on Radio Globo. He claimed to have assembled a number of sponsors that could assist him getting the Force India drive. “To debut on a good team like Force India would really accelerate the process of coming to a really good team in two or three years.
If I had no sponsors, I would pack my bags and go home now.”
Yet I have to say, I had a certain reticence over this scenario. Razia is quick but erratic, maybe Maldonado-esque. He has raced for 5 teams in 4 years in GP2 with a table finishing best of 8th before his drive for Arden (owned Red Bull’s Christian Horner 😉 ) in 2012. He finished second in the title race – a mere 25 points behind Italian Davide Valsecci (There are 48 points available at a GP2 weekend – Sprint race winner 15, Feature race winner 25, 4 points for pole in the feature race and 2 points for the fastest lap in both races).
However if he does have that kind of money behind him – and as yet we have no information on who would provide it – he could very well get a seat in F1 2013.
Complex negotiations are the explanation
If Force India are having talks with both Ferrari and other possible ‘investors’ it is much more explicable why the 2013 driver lineup is log jammed. Imagine the competing views and opinions of Luca de Montezemolo, Bernie Ecclestone, Flavio Briatore together with Vijay and his hustling mate Rob Roy. Maybe they will never decide???
In conclusion, I return to where we began – Paul Di Resta who is a Mercedes’ sponsored driver, but what does that mean now. I do not believe he has the kind of cash behind him that was paid to McLaren to assist funding Lewis Hamilton and with the expiration of the engine deals this year – I posit his position looks extremely tenuous.