#F1 Features: VIjay Mallya squeezed again

Brought to you by TheJudge13 contributor John Myburgh and edited by Andrew Huntley-Jacobs

“Resourceful: able to deal well with new or difficult situations and to find solutions to problems.” This is the definition from the Merriam dictionary.

Readers will know that the ex billionaire Vijay Malaya has enjoyed a fair amount of attention for his none F1 activities from here at the TJ13 Towers.

Each year it appears to be increasingly difficult for the Silverstone based Force India team to compete in Formula One. Yet somehow, their leader appears to find the funds to keep them going and not to just survive, but to trouble the more established teams.

In 2014, Mallya delivered the team a budget of EUR 127m, without having to dip into his own pocket. This is even more remarkable when considering the team’s co-owner and head of title sponsors Sahara – Rubrata Roy – has been in jail for 9 months and reportedly contributed zilch.

Of course finishing the 2013 season 6th in the constructors championship helped to bolster the budget in the region of EUR 53m, add to that the young Checo and his Mexican dollars and the loss of around EUR49m and we are not far from the EUR127m budget.

That said, losses cannot continue and one day – the piper must be paid.

Force India again finished 6th in the WCC in 2014, though the budget for 2015 is proving more of a challenge as TJ13 has learned credit lines to the Silverstone team are being reduced and in some instances, cut off.

The Sahara Force India website boast some 31 partners, though the main cash paying sponsors from 2014 – Whyte and McKay, Royal Challenge (beer) and Smirnoff – are now Diageo owned following Mallya selling the controlling interest in his United Spirits business. It is uncertain whether these drinks brands are set to be seen on the 2015 car.

On Friday, The Indian Express reported the Karnataka High Court admitted six winding-up petitions filed against United Breweries Holdings (UBHL), by Kingfisher Airlines’ creditors who are seeking to enforce corporate guarantees given to them.

But what does that mean? Well, according to the e-paper ‘Business Standard’, Mallya pledged 25.91% of United Breweries against debts. Considering he currently holds 31.9%, having sold much of his father’s business to Heineken who own 40%, should these petitions be successful Mallya would effectively be exited from his family business.

The other main cash paying sponsor during 2014, was Kingfisher, a beer owned by United Breweries. Mallya’s 5.99% interest in the company will not be sufficient to force the UB Group and Heineken to spend on advertising in Formula One. Further, should the petitions currently lodged to have Mallya declared ‘wilful defaulter’ be granted, he will be forced to resign as a director of United Breweries in addition.

For now, the court has refused on technical grounds these ‘wilful defaulter’ petitions, though those bringing the action are almost certain to return having learned from their mistakes.

The engineers at Force India have been repeatedly referred to as “resourceful“, due to their excellent on track performance given the team’s budget. The once ‘King of Good Times’ was too lauded for his resourcefulness in building his drinks empire and airline businesses.

Mallya will need to continue his resourcefulness, though today the team announced they will be unveiling their 2015 car on January 21st in Soumaya museum in Mexico City.

Due to a new deal, Telmex, Telcel and Claro branding will appear on the 2015 Force India car and for this Vijay is clearly grateful. “I wish to thank Telmex, Telcel and Claro for their support in making this event possible,” 

That said, Vijay would rather the Mexican’s stump up a combined extra EUR50m to plug the leaky hole in the team’s finances.

3 responses to “#F1 Features: VIjay Mallya squeezed again

  1. Talk about Vijay offers the opportunity to talk about Tony Fernandes. Air Asia owner. Most recent crash in news: Air Asia. Wasn’t supposed to be flying on that day. I read they were permitted to fly 3 or 4 days a week, and that was not one of the permitted days. I’d have to ask about who reviews flight plans and schedules takeoff times and operates the control tower, and why they didn’t spot this.

    • With his Lordships indulgence….if anyone desires to acquaint themselves with the Fernandes shoddy flying operations there’s a blog, airasiaannus, that could be something of an eye-opener.
      He and old Veej have so much in common……

  2. I get that this is about VJ and the current state of F1 financial distress. I would LOVE to see 24 – 26 cars on the grid. some of them being good ol’ Privateers who simply purchase the latest iteration of a Merc, Ferrari, Red Bull, or whatever.
    it would be awesome if they could campaign 1 driver full time and offer a seat (likely paid) to the bi-weekly local or regional hotshoe.
    it kinda sorta used to be that way back when F1 had some real relevance and local heros were born or disappeared… ahhh. the good days!

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