Mallya paves way for F1 team to be a force without India
Send a link to a friend
[June 28, 2017]
By Alan Baldwin
LONDON (Reuters) - Vijay Mallya, who is
being pursued by Indian authorities over unpaid loans tied to his
defunct Kingfisher Airlines, has taken steps that could see India
disappear from the name of his Formula One team.
Listings at Companies House showed six businesses were registered to
a London address on May 31 and June 6 using the Force One name.
A hack of Mallya's Twitter account last December revealed the same
address, a terrace of mansions overlooking Regents Park, as his
The only named official for the companies -- Force One Grand Prix,
Force One Racing, Force One Team, Force One Technology, Force One
Hospitality and Force One Brand -- was Force India director
Thiruvannamalai Ventkatesan Lakshmi Kanthan.
Kanthan is also sole director of Force One Consultancy, a company
set up on June 2.
Mallya was quoted on June 14 as saying he was considering changing
the name of the Silverstone-based team to make it more attractive to
potential sponsors and give it more of an "international flavor".
"There are some people who believe the current name Force India is
restrictive psychologically," he told Motorsport.com.
"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."
India has accused Mallya of fraud and is seeking the 61-year-old's
extradition after he fled to Britain in March last year.
[to top of second column]
Azerbaijan Grand Prix - Baku, Azerbaijan - June 23, 2017. Force
India's Esteban Ocon drives during the second practice session.
Banks are seeking to recover about $1.4 billion that
the Indian authorities say Kingfisher owes. Mallya has repeatedly
dismissed the charges against him.
Mallya attended only one Formula One race last year -- the British
Grand Prix over the road from his team's factory. He said this month
that there were no plans to sell the team, however.
Any application for a name change would have to be approved by the
governing FIA and other teams through the Formula One Commission.
"Force India was born out of Vijay owning the team," chief operating
officer Otmar Szafnauer told motorsport.com on Wednesday.
"Since then we’ve lost the Grand Prix there (in India), the Indian
sponsors no longer were interested in sponsoring us. Now we have no
Indian sponsors whatsoever, apart from Vijay’s Kingfisher.
"So it kind of makes sense to change it from India in order to
attract sponsors more globally, and not restrict ourselves to being
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)
[© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All
Copyright 2017 Reuters. All rights
reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten