Force India co-owner Vijay Mallya has announced he is considering changing his Formula One team’s name to “make the outfit more attractive to potential sponsors”.
Mallya said he has been considering a proposal on the table from one (unnamed) sponsor , and his current legal situation had nothing to do with the idea.
Earlier this month there was speculation that the Force India F1 Team was up for sale and rumours have been bouncing around that a US-led consortium looking to revive the Brabham name could be interested in buying Force India with huge questions circling around the F1 world as to whether Bernie Ecclestone was behind the bid started by one of the most experienced veteran journalists in the F1 paddock, Roger Benoit.
These questions remain largely unanswered other than Mallya has denied (via social media) all speculation and stated that the relationship between Eccleston and himself was purely a friendship, but this latest announcement has re-started the speculation.
Either way it all seems a strange time to be making such large choices, one would assume he would have enough to think about. This makes me suspicious. It might be subterfuge to reduce the effects of the recent arrests and allegations against the team brand or it could be even more tactical, only time will tell.
The Silverstone-based team have gone through various guises already, starting out as Jordan in 1991 and then becoming Midland in 2006 and Spyker in 2007 before Mallya took control in 2008.
Mallya who has hit the headlines a few times this week on controversies such as money laundering, fraudulently obtaining credit and other financial crimes denies all allegations. The 61-year-old was arrested by British police in April on behalf of the Indian authorities, who accuse him of fraud.
The court hearing to decide whether fugitive billionaire Vijay Mallya will be extradited back to India has been pushed back to December — and may not even happen till next year.
So on to the name change, speculation is rife that this is a (allegedly) convoluted move to distance any legal action away from the team that he built and views with great personal affection, almost how a father looks at their child. His statements however come from a pure business angle.
“There is a growing feeling that maybe since we are a much-improved team in terms of performance and attracting more international sponsors, and sadly less Indian sponsors, there is a debate as to why the name should not be changed to give it a more international flavour,”
Mallya told motorsport.com.
“There are some people who believe the current name Force India is restrictive psychologically.
“I’m considering along with the other shareholders what steps to take but it’s a major decision and one that is not going to be taken in a hurry without due consideration.”
Force India finished fourth overall last season, a position they currently occupy after seven races and are very much fighting to improve on.
The latest livery of Force India is proof that performance CAN outweigh looks!