Force India offer is with Aston Martin shareholders


Whilst Tavo Helmund and his backers are negotiating to acquire Manor F1, Vijay Mallya is still hoping to sell Sahara Force India. Since his fall from grace as the King of Good times, the Silverstone based team has pretty much had to survive on the cash it receives from Formula One and Sponsorship. That said, Sahara’s top dog Rubrata Roy is still in jail over a year since his arrest and is currently detained due to his inability to meet the monetary terms of his bail order.

Gone are the heady days of 2012 when Mallya declared he was about to invest $50m in Force India, and build a wind tunnel. In fact the Silverstone based team now used the Toyota wind tunnel based in Cologne which Fernley credits for this season’s success. “I think chassis-wise we are a genuinely top four or five car. To take the next move into the top four requires another step, but we’ve got the assets to do it today. It’s the result of enhancing the aero programme in Germany. I think you’re seeing the results of that coming through now”.

Force India under the watch of Bob Fernley, have just secured they’re best ever finish in the F1 constructors’ race. The team’s fifth place was confirmed in Brazil, bettering three previous 6th places in the team’s seven year history. This now gives Fernley some freedom to test 2016 parts at the final event in Abu Dhabi. “Whenever you do testing in FP1 and FP2 sessions you tend to compromise the race set-up or the qualifying set-up,” the Yorkshireman explained.

The season started badly for Force India, when for cash flow reasons they failed to make the first winter test and their new 2015 chassis was impounded by creditors. Fernley went cap in hand to Ecclestone for an advance on this year’s FOM payments, arguing the collapse of Caterham had driven suppliers to request payment up front for services rendered.

Fernley has just made a similar request for development work required through the winter of 2015/16, though the outcome has not been made public. Meanwhile, the Aston Martin deal is apparently very much alive and Mallya has made the investors behind the historic British racing marque an offer which Fernley believes is a take it or leave it deal. “I don’t think we can offer a better package to Aston”, he said in Brazil. “The decision now is between their shareholders and the Force India shareholders.”

Aston Martin has been given a huge publicity boost with the release of the latest 007 film along with the action packed images featuring their new DB10 model. However, the challenge ahead for Aston Martin road car division is huge, Sales to 2014 fell from 7,300pa to around 4,000pa in under a decade and the amount the investors wish to spend on a midfield Formula One team will not be big dollars.

Mallya paid around 90 million euro’s for the defunct Spyker team in 2007 and renamed it Force India for the 2008 season. Subsequently, Sahara bought a 42.5% share in the Silverstone based outfit for around $100m and has been the title sponsor ever since.

43 responses to “Force India offer is with Aston Martin shareholders

  1. I guess that’s the best time to sell (at the team’s highest finish) and buy (Bond release; good foundations for the future). It’ll be a pity if the sale doesn’t go through.

    PS Did watch the Bond film and have to admit that Jaguar in the car chase scene looked amazing; better than the DB10. I was thinking Bond has the crappy car.

    • …but in the next movie he’ll have himself an Aston Martin F1 car, with a few lasers / rockets / etc.
      ( maybe keep them on the racing version to spice up the action – it could be the only way to arrest Mercedes in their quest for world domination )

    • @Mclaren78..

      I too agree the Jaguar dos look a lot better than the Aston. A job well done by the Williams factory.

      • Jaguar designed the car. Williams built it and provided engineering support.

        Complimenting the looks should goto jags design staff.

        For some reason I’d rather see Aston sponsor Williams thought.

        Williams Aston Martini – perfect bond f1 team

        Frank Williams is basically a bond villian as it is.

        • His shadow precedes him as he rolls into the gleaming laboratory, wheeling to a halt in front of the bristling laser CNC.

          “No Mr. Bond, I expect you to drive.”

        • Mallya to be an odd-job kind of character and Williams with a white cat on his lap, maybe if Bond is driving round in a rebadged Force India, then the Indians won’t cut the film when it comes out 😉

    • There’s something awkward looking about the Aston Martin. Too me the wheels look to big for the car (photo at top), although I’m not a fan of the no profile tire at the best of times.

      • “essentially” the DB10 is a production car, don’t be surprised if in 2-6 mos aston announces limited production due to interest.

        So given the assumption that we’re looking at a 97.3% production supercar for say, 2016, what announced 2015/16 supercar looks especially ‘not-awkward’ to you? No hypercars please – just super.

        out of curiosity of course…..

        also since this is still technically a concept car. what concept car announcements in 2015 excited you?

        • Wrong guy to ask. I think supercars or hypercars or whatever,are a waste of human ingenuity. Countach came out in ’74 and the basics haven’t changed, big engine, wedge shaped car…Yawn. My opinion was based on Bond ads and the Aston in the picture on the article, which I think is a homely car. It looks cartoonish.

  2. Aston Martin will team up with Red Bull. The signs are there. Williams will go to Renault. Force India will get a discount from Mercedes.

    • what signs? im really interested to know.

      I see 1 sign, Red Bull is the benchmark in F1 right now, but this is a sign that anyone can see and is in no way a reason to suggest Aston is specifically after them.

      Any company in the world interested in headline results will have red bull at the top of the sponsorship pile.

      so what signs have you seen?

      • I would think you would have to admit that Mercedes is the benchmark in F1 right now. You could say that if Red Bull had the Mercedes PU they would be winning, but we don’t know that. The change in PU’s is going to require a different layout, which is likely to change the characteristics of the car, so let’s judge on what is known. Red Bull build great chassis but Mercedes are the benchmark unless the standard has been lowered to 4th place.

        • How many teams does Mercedes have? How many races does Mercedes have? How many world class driving academy’s does Mercedes have? How many world wide promotional events does Mercedes do for F1?

          They are a top team, but no benchmark.

          • We are using quite different criteria with our benchmarks “right now”. None of the things you mention have anything to do with winning in F1, setting the standard to beat, which is the benchmark.

          • When we had equalization of power in the rain at the USGP – we all saw who was the benchmark.

            Red Bull is a benchmark team, there is no argument. In fact Mercedes themselves have said Red Bull is the benchmark so why are you arguing?

            Outside of the actual racing they top mercedes in everyway. Maybe when mercedes wins 4 in a row i’ll consider them equal. Until then, good luck.

  3. Is Michiel Mol still holding 10%?
    He boasted in dutch media at the time that the moniker VJ-M stands fir ViJay Michiel…

    • Apparently he still does and is still ‘responsible’ (probably too big a word) for the commercial side of things but he prefers to stay out of the limelight

  4. ‘Sales to 2014 fell from….’ A bit convoluted but I think I get your drift……..unsure?
    If you’re saying what I think you’re saying shareholders would be insane to even think about connecting with FI.
    After all, Aston seems to teeter on the brink too often.

  5. after all the criticism thrown at force india at the start of the season it would have been nice to see something good written about them after what has been an amazing turn around for them, sadly can’t understand the reason behind the bitterness of tj13 for force india, the team just achieved p5, their best result, give them some credit for a change

    • I take it that you’re probably new to the site, if you’re not, then ignore this comment.

      The judge is neither bias nor unbias towards any team or individual in the sport. If either deserves criticism, then he’ll drop the gavel with as much if not more force than Thor. He does not print rebuttals to those he has criticised in the past.

      Mrs Judge is a huge fan of the Aussie with all the grit Webber and he has written articles that has caused uproar after he has stepped down from behind the bench and removed his gown and wig.

      Pitty is not a word that exists in the judges vocabulary. Just take it on the chin and move on, we’ve all learnt to.


      • actually no i’m not new, i don’t have anything against tj13 for criticising the team, but if you’re there to criticize the team then be there to praise the team when it achieves its best ever result. It should work both ways if there is no bias. Earlier inthe season there were articles literally claiming the end of Force india, Ok, that’s a personal view but when the team has turned it around and are on the verge of getting even bigger then where is tj13? why not praise the team? why still stick to the barbs?

        • Actually he did, it floored me when I read it. Can’t recall the exact article but it was 2 or 3 weeks ago.

    • Was the turn around amazing?
      Or is it sad that they couldn’t get their originally planned chassis at the start of the season?

      If someone’s a willfull defaulter and his business partner is in prison, it’s fair to mention.

      FI is just as well and just as positive a story as F1 in general.


      • Notwithstanding the ooooze of the owners; FI is a good race team. I would like to see them with new owners and some stability, the same with Lotus. The crews in the shops do a great job especially considering the hassles uncertain funding must create. When you see what these guys do for the money it’s easy to understand why the big teams don’t want a spending cap.

      • its true that F1’s first proper B-Spec car in a long time is soley the result of poor finances and not a team spending their way to change (ala ferrari this year).

        its also true that Fi’s shareholders are open criminals.

        arent both these reasons why F1 is the most interesting entertainment device on the planet?

        • I became an F1 fan because of the cars and drivers, that’s the entertainment. If they had a spending cap, level the playing field and the racing will be good again. We would also be able to judge who really is the best team.
          I read that Red Bull had just set new spending records to get their 4th place finish this year. Ferrari have invested heavily in the PU, but their chassis spending (apples and apples) is less than Red Bull, if Red Bull hold the record.

          • So you’re a fan of the cars but then want spending caps?

            Very typical F1 fan.

            Go watch GP2, it’s perfect for you, they don’t spend any money and theirs a handful of decent races every year.

            This is F1 – it’s about spending.

            Also, not a fan on this website smart enough to implement an effective cost cap – so until you can actually define a cost cap measure that’s enforceable please stop parroting this very old and tiresome line.

        • You’re really too much Layercake, a bit of a mental midget. “Also not a fan on this website smart enough to implement an effective cost cap”, oh well that certainly makes it impossible. I think once again your confused. Gp2 is a series where they all use the same equipment, I call it spec racing. On the other hand a cost cap doesn’t affect the car specifications it just limits how much money can be spent. Those that say a cost cap is not possible are just “parroting this very old and tiresome line” the big teams use and like most things that come from the mouths of greedy men it is bullshit.

          • Just tell me how to enforce a cost cap measure and you have a point.

            until then you should agree with the smartest people in the room, who all agree, cost caps are impossible.

            Asking for a cost cap is naive as asking for world peace – interesting that a mental midget like myself can figure that out. what does that make you?

          • Layercake I am not a accounting expert, but my Sister happens to be one of the top forensic accountants on the planet and she would tell you it absolutely could be done and would be 100% enforceable, as she has told me. I don’t give a crap, who you cite or what they say, my expert has the backing of all the major accounting firms of the world that constantly head hunt her and her list of credentials, if she says so, it can be done.

          • yeah i guess you and your sister sure proved me wrong.

            one question, did she take into account all the people smarter than her that could still figure out how to cheat and/or reinterpret the regulations?

  6. not a Mallya fan by any means! BUT, it really does seem to me that his team is full of awesome talent – possibly the finest group of managers/engineers/drivers per $$$ spent on the grid! and I like that a bunch!! fuck Merc and Ferrari…

  7. they are not selling force india, aston martin doesn’t have that kind of funds to spend on a f1 racing team. they will only sponsor the team, by giving its name to force india. it will be called Aston Martin SFI racing.

    • Aston Martin are not buying the team or becoming a conventional title sponsor. The idea is that drinks brands from companies such as Diago will be happier sponsoring a team with a sexy upmarket type of name.

      Because VJM’s businesses aren’t doing so well these days, he can’t afford to put money in the team. The association with Aston Martin is designed to create a halo effect that can attract more sponsorship than the Force India brand will.

      VJM likes to be the star of the show. When he had a more solid financial footing, he could afford to create the Force India brand. He avoided employing Indian drivers apparently because they would have deflected media attention from himself.

      Now he’s about to potentially suffer a court ruling that will prevent him borrowing money as he has been doing recently (used to support his lifestyle, failing businesses and F1 team) he needs to ensure the team is financially viable moving forwards. The attraction of the current Aston Martin negotiations would enable him to stay on as Team Principal, whereas if he was forced to sell the team he would most likely not be kept on in that role.

      Personally I’m surprised his own businesses problems and his association with co-owner Roy Subrata (in jail awaiting trial) haven’t put off the big name brands that are not forced effectively to associate themselves with him. Depending on how his business problems play out, he may be forced to sell his interests in the drinks companies whose brand names are currently seen on the car. Apparently his Kingfisher airline venture is also rather troubled. I guess F1 does seem to tolerate these sleazy characters much more than other sports. Maybe that’s partly due to the sport’s curious situation where the competitors, regulators and rule makers are all intermingled – in a way that other major sports simply would not allow.

  8. Is this like your recent “confirmation” about the RBR/Illien engine which has now been confirmed as false because it’s not even permitted under the FIA’s PU regulations?

    Seriously, you have zero credibility at this point. You’ve become nothing more than a sensational gossip rag for F1.

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