There have been speculations about Force India’s financial woes and a story from Autosport.com came into light at the Friday Press Conference of the Mexico Grand Prix weekend. This morning there was speculation of a possible name change for Force India and Vijay Mallya was asked about it in the conference.
The Autosport story reported that Force India have sealed a deal with Aston Martin and also one with Johnny Walker. It is reported that Aston Martin was reported to have been in talks with Red Bull Racing and Williams too. It is said that Mercedes who is the engine and power train supplier to Force India and has a five per cent stake in Aston Martin is also content with the new partnership.
The story in autosport further suggested that there will be a name change and the livery of Force India would changeto blue and gold as a part of their tie-up with Johnny Walker. Upon being asked about this report and the speculation it has lead to at the Friday Press Conference, Vijay Mallya said “We are in discussion, nothing has been finalised, we have many options and I’ll be able to confirm or otherwise once I have something to say. As I’ve said, and as was faithfully reported by Autosport, I don’t like to count my chickens before they hatch.”
Its also interesting on how Johnny Walker who partner McLaren till the end of this year will move to the new Aston Martin- Force India combo next year. Johnny Walker is associated with James Bond as is Aston Martin but the move does not come as an alarming one, especially in terms with Johnny Walker. One would say this because somewhere it was conflict to see two liquor brands associated with a team when LVMH group vested its interests in McLaren a few races ago and announced their partnership, which explains the move by Johnny Walker which would have been clear to McLaren in prior.
This story changes a lot for Force India in terms of the tricolor badging, livery and the country it represented. When they had their Cavall 7 wine event at the Austin GP weekend and the new partnership tie-ups for the Mexico GP, one almost thought the team was turning into Force Mexico. But this story seems to have confirmed different changes one can expect.
In the wake of the story, what is really sad is in terms of the country the team represented which is India, and to motorsport in India this new development will come as a big blow. India lost its Grand Prix and the last one was in 2013 and the potential platform for Indian drivers in the future has also lost its relevance in F1. Some in India had seen this coming with both the owners Sahara and Mr. Mallya’s names making the rounds for financial troubles in the local media.
Nevertheless, like Mr. Vijay Mallya said in the press conference an official announcement and the formality of changing the name which will need the team to apply for formalities to the F1 Commercial Rights holder to get approval is still pending. Therefore a formal announcement on this by the team is awaited but Mr. Mallya more or less confirmed the report by Autosport, which itself has lead to ‘break the internet’ scenario in the F1 fraternity. If speculation and rumors in the media center are to be correct, it will be renamed as Aston Martin Racing.