Force India team owner Vijay Mallya is considering changing the name of the Silverstone-based outfit to give it a more “international flavour” in order to attract potential new commercial partners.
The team which started out as Jordan Grand Prix in 1991 went through several changes of ownership before Mallya acquired the outfit in 2008.
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He initially targeted Indian sponsors with the aim of bringing an Indian driver into Formula 1. But the team has evolved into a solid mid-field runner, and proven to be a cost-effective proposition for sponsors.
“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,” explained the Indian tycoon.
“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.
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“More importantly, we have to look at the way the F1 scenario is unfolding under Liberty ownership. If they follow the NFL model, then of course the name becomes even more important because it’s a franchise model where the focus is on the name. But the current pattern may continue.
“These are all issues I’ll consider with the other shareholders before arriving at any final conclusion.”
Mallya revealed that talks were currently underway with a potential partner regarding the team’s rebranding, as well as with several “additional sponsors”.
The 61-year-old also insisted that the plan to eventually change the team’s name had nothing
to do with his personal affairs and the pending legal proceedings taking place in India.
“The fact the country of India and me are not the best partners is something that has been going on for a few years now,” said Mallya.
“This is nothing new. I haven’t in the last few years considered any name change. It’s purely to do with current sponsorship, a proposal on the table and sponsorship going forward for the team.”
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