Vijay Mallya on Force India F1 rebrand: 'The time has come now to change'
Vijay Mallya has confirmed at the British Grand Prix that Force India is to drop 'India' from its name in an effort to attract global sponsors for ...
Vijay Mallya has confirmed at the British Grand Prix that Force India is to drop 'India' from its name in an effort to attract global sponsors for the Formula 1 team.
Currently lying fourth in the constructors' championship, Force India sports a pink livery based around its main sponsor, BWT.
The Austrian water filter company pays around £13 million a year (according to German outlet Bild) to the Silverstone-based F1 outfit for its pink paintjob - BWT also sponsors DTM cars.
The outfit's owner confirmed to reporters at Silverstone that the rebrand of Force India is a "work in progress.
"It arose because we were in discussion with certain sponsors who expressed some reservations on Force India being too geographically or territorially specific," said Mallya.
"There are international sponsors who are interested who have no business in India. They have a global audience. I think the time has come that we also provide them with a global opportunity or global platform.
"So after living with Force India for 10 years, the time has come now to change. But you can't keep changing the name of the team frequently so whatever decision we take has to last another 10 years."
Earlier this year, a number of companies called 'Force One' were registered at the UK's Companies House, and as a result 'Force One' is likely to be Force India's successor. They include Force One Grand Prix Limited (incorporated in May); Force One Racing Limited (June); and Force One Hospitality Limited (June).
"Over a management discussion, 'Force One' was suggested. Everybody liked it and once you come up with a name you have to check the name is available," continued Mallya.
"It was so we registered the name and that started all the speculation about changing to Force One, but we haven't decided on that yet. Some people have come up with newer suggestions, such as 'Force Racing'. Suggestions will keep coming up and we will decide.
"There is no specific timeline. Will it be done this year for next year? I can't answer that because we are under no pressure to take an early decision.
"When the right name comes with our partners' engagement, with a buy-in from everyone, then we will go ahead and deliver it."
"We need to cater to the needs of sponsors who have global businesses, and sponsoring Formula One isn’t exactly cheap," said the team's owner to Indian media outlet, the Hindustan Times.
"It was the first time an Indian team showed up on a Formula One grid," Mallya said.
"It met the aspirations of millions of young Indians who never thought that would be possible.
"Since we have consistently now improved and are a serious contender on the grid, it’s time to broaden our horizons [to] attract more international sponsors and sadly there is no Indian Grand Prix anymore.
"Indian sponsors seem to be passionate about putting all of their money into cricket, and so we must appeal to a more international audience, and so the idea of changing the name of the team was mooted."
With allegations of financial fraud surrounding Mallya, he maintains that his personal troubles will not affect Force India's rebrand.
“I’ve been charged with a whole variety of things but let that be kept to one side and let the legal process take its own course,” Mallya said on Friday at the British Grand Prix.
“The potential removal of the word ‘India’ from the team name is nothing to do with the events surrounding me. We need to appeal to a more international audience."
However, Bild claims that the advertising agency, AMP Advisory & Management Partners, behind Force India's BWT sponsorship launched a legal challenge against the team in July over claims that the advertising contract has not been fulfilled by Force India.Force One, Force Racing or Force India? What do you think about Force India's impending rebrand? Have your say in the comment section below.
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