Sutil to drive for Force India, More Mallya Mahem

Sutil gets the nod

untitledThe Silverstone enclave is sending up white smoke. A decision has been agreed upon and Jules Bianchi will be disappointed as Adrian Sutil gets the nod from Vijay Mallya.

Apparently tickets were booked for both drivers to attend the Melbourne event however Force India have as yet to confirm anything.

Announcements over Force India’s 2014 supplier may tell us more and the time between now and when that is made will tell us whether this was a Sutil/Mercedes or Ferrari/Bianchi decision – or in fact more is yet to be revealed.

Problems for Mallya with Diageo Deal

Bob the Builder (of cars) in his most recent defence of the finances of Force India’s  overlord a few weeks back, claimed that all was well for Vijay since he had managed to up the share price of the United Spirits business by a 3-4 times multiple. Whilst nominally true, the price has risen slowly since a 12 month low in March 2012 of 502. As rumours of Diageo’s interest in taking over the business grew the share price climbed steadily.untitled

Diageo around 3 months ago offered to ‘make a formal offer’ to public shareholders – when the various Indian Authorities agree the sale – to acquire their shares at a price of 1140.

The speculation surrounding this deal has ramped up the price to a high at the end of January of 1952 when Sebi (Indian Securities Board) gave a preliminary green light to the Diageo to make a ‘formal offer’. Since then the share price has fallen 7.5% and continues to decline. Contrary to what has been written elsewhere, my information is that the Indian Competition Authorities have concerns over the takeover and the Economic Times states their findings will be made public in March.

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I think I commented in response to Bob Fearnley’s confident assertions that if I was a United Spirit’s shareholder I would cash in my chips and run for the hills. Clearly, if Diageo only wish to pay 1140 per share, the price at present is inflated due to speculative forces in the market.

Should there be problems with the remaining regulatory approval required or punitive conditions imposed on Diageo, they could withdraw from the offer completely. The price of United Spirit’s shares would most likely fall of a cliff and return to somewhere near the value they were before the Diageo rumours of a takeover began.

At that price, the banks would then own charges on about 1/4 of the business which they are indicating they will collect along with another $1,2bn of assets they will claim.

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12 responses to “Sutil to drive for Force India, More Mallya Mahem

  1. “and it looks as though Jules Bianchi will be disappointed”

    From what I’ve read Sutil brings cash immediately, while Bianchi saves Force India money in the medium term with some sponsorship and an engine deal with Ferrari at reduced cost. If Sutil gets the drive I would hazard a guess that Force India will be soon up for sales as Sutil’s money will tide the team over until a buyer is found.

    • With sign on the horizon that Honda and even Porsche might be looking at a return to F1 as engine suppliers, Ferrari may have well overplayed its hand here by refusing to decrease the price for a 2014 (and beyond) engine supply deal with Force India…

      • Indeed. Further, the engine decision is not yet made and this buys time for the potential new investor to have input.

        If Force India signed Bianchi they would be sending a message they may not yet wish to send about possible ‘agreements’ in the background.

        Mercedes 15-love

        • Given Ferrari’s current ‘brand equity’ I cannot see many interested buyers – except maybe for some competing car manufacturer – that would be pushed off by the prospect of a link with the Scuderia though…

      • “With sign on the horizon that Honda and even Porsche might be looking at a return to F1”

        An F1 wet dream but realistically both would be fighting over one team – McLaren. Honda never seemed interested in being a multi-team engine supplier during the 80’s and early nineties, except when they added Lotus where Nakijima came with the engine. Porsche only were interested when someone else, TAG, paid for development. I suspect that Honda would be more inclined to do a deal with McLaren. Then who would Porsche supply – a mid-field or tail-ender? That wouldn’t seem to fit their brand image.

        • I’m pretty much thinking along your lines, although one never knows what Honda is up to next. They have been a manufacturer team twice already, make that three if you also count the attempt that stopped with the Postlethwaite heart attack and that followed a period of engine supply to different teams (Mugen Honda). So they do have some sort of history with preparing their own team through engine supply, but it’s unlikely that they could do to McLaren what they did to BAR so from that perspective they might still be interested to re-enter F1 through an engine supply for a ‘buyable’ team.

          • As long as we have only 11 teams it looks most unlikely that we will see more than 4 engine suppliers in the new, RRA-governed (?) 2014 formula, but as Cavallino pointed out Porsche did supply an engine to only 1 team in the period 83-87, the team was McLaren and the engine was…. a V6 Turbo!

  2. “Porsche did supply an engine to only 1 team in the period 83-87, the team was McLaren and the engine was…. a V6 Turbo!”

    That was because Porsche didn’t own the rights to sell the engine, TAG did.

  3. I’ll be interested to read the wording when it’s officially announced. Nothing on the FI website just now. I wouldn’t be surprised if they both drive this year in an alternating races scenario…

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