Force India to be sold?

The word from India is that Vijay Mallya is on the verge of selling his shares in the Force India team to another Indian business magnate, Subrata Roy. Roy is the boss of Sahara India Pariwar, a conglomerate of different businesses. Subrata Roy Sahara founded the company in 1978. Roy is very active in sport sponsoring cricket, hockey and a variety of Olympic sports. The group also supports the “Sahara India Sports Awards” which recognise Indian achievements in sport.

15 thoughts on “Force India to be sold?

  1. So, will the new owner be more willing to pay his bills than Vijay? (based on what is known of him from his other interests?)

  2. This could be true as VJM is lost a lot of money in the airline business. There was a huge article on it in a few papers in India, But the timing of the whole thing is a bit weird. VJM always wanted the limelight and this before the first ever Indian GP is actually not a positive thing for him. But if it is true then VJM is in dire need of money.

    Sahara apart from sponsoring the Cricket and Hockey teams also owns an IPL Franchise. They are one of the richest families in India and have the money but then there is a rumor they want an Indian driver in the team this if India has someone of the caliber of Button or Rosberg would make sense to be nationalistic but then F1 is business and having a driver for the sake of nationality is a bad move.

    The last time Ferrari had an Italian driver was a huge disaster even though he was just a sub for 2 races!

  3. @Ravi – So whats wrong with having a Indian driver in Indian team?? Vettel, Button, Alonso, Lewis all have been at right place at right time. In fact someone like Button got a long end of stick for so long and honestly was not convincing even in the 2009 season.

    It finally took team like McLaren and backing of Whitmarsh and some stability in personal life to bring the best out of Button in last two years. else he was hurtliing towards being another Fisichella or Trulli (who in my view are again great drivers, but just were not at right place at right time with unwavering support of the right teams backing them).

    Given the promise Karthikeyan showed in a lousy undeveloped Jordan in his debut season, if Mallya had right intentions he could have Indian drivers grow with the team.

    Its not as if Vijay’s drivers really gave him special results (but for some fluke performances) nothing that a Narain and Karun couldn’t have given him.

    Of course age is no more on side of Narain to make the most of Sahara’s plans (assuming they materialize), but this is F1 and stranger things have happened in past…

  4. If true, it’s hard to think of them not employing Karthikeyan next year. I don’t see what’s wrong with that. He’s quite a good driver and it would be interesting to see how he went in a decent car. If the new owners make a big thing out of Indian sporting achievements, it would surely be in their business interests to give him a chance.

    I suppose they would choose di Resta over Sutil, but they’ve actually been pretty even this year, if anything Sutil generally faster in qualifying, but then he does know the tracks better.

  5. Hmmm whats with guys who own airlines and f1 teams not bothering to pay their bills?

    For what its worth Mallya has denied the rumour

  6. Statement from Dr. Vijay Mallya, Chairman & Team Principal, Force India Formula One Team Ltd.

    “I was shocked to read a media report that I am selling the Force India Formula One team. This is completely untrue and without any basis whatsoever. I take great pride in having been able to put an Indian team on the Formula One World Championship grid and have worked very hard to greatly improve the performance of the team. Now that India is finally on the Formula One World Championship calendar, my commitment to Force India only gets even stronger. As Team Principal, I will continue to run the team and I have no plans whatsoever to exit.”

  7. Joe,

    If your usually well honed radar is as accurate as ever, this is big news. As a westerner who lived and worked in India for a couple of years I have got into the business psyche and culture in India.

    For westerners reading this blog, substitute SAHARA for “Roy”. They are into everything – 7* hotels and all over the India cricket teams etc. More importantly he is well respected and connected in corporate India, the opposite of Mallya (whom I once met at Mumbai races – he was wearing a powder blue suit!!)

    SAHARA does not do things by half, and I can see him bringing in other India corporates, (Telco’s, banks and perhaps pulling Tata/Jaguar off HRT despite the Williams link), but more importantly he could be a front for the Indian Government.

    Indian people are very proud of their country and very nationalistic, sometimes overly so beyond logic, but they have masses of skilled people and very strong work ethic, and become very committed.

    Withe economic growth still at 7% to 9% even in these times, I can see Force India developing into a national flagship via Roy and SAHARA, with graduate engineers coming from Bangalore to Silverstone. (The car industry is Chennai based but the Indian space programme is in Bangalore – this is where all the real high-tech skills come from).

    if this comes true, 3 or 4 years down the line FI could be the hot seat to have after the big players.

    Please keep an eye on this for us Joe….!

  8. Didnt take him long to issue a denial on this one.

    Of course given what he chose to say he could quite easily sell his shareholding, remain as a sponsor with 1 or another of his companies and not contradict the ‘denial’ he gave.

  9. Autosport is saying Mallya rubbished the speculation that he is selling.
    Joe? You think the cat wasn’t supposed to be out of the bag yet?

  10. There was some gossip about Robert Kubica joining Force Inda next year. Might be a good scenario: him getting an “easier” way to rebuild his strenght, them (new owner) getting publicity and pottential success once RK is back to top form…

  11. Quite possibly. Actually, make that probably. It’s a move long been rumoured to be on the cards.

    @ Ravi:

    VJM perhaps wishing to sell now, on the eve of the inaugural Indian GP, can be viewed two ways. Either we can look at it from the point you raise, about it being weird, and hence not positive for VJM, or it could be argued that in selling now, may give the sale impetus, as the new owner could have him or herself a team for the first Indian GP, if indeed a sale could be made that quickly. Be a part of F1 history, get yours here, now, if you see what I mean.

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