OCTOBER 31, 2015
Force India deal could be another blow to McLaren
After eight years in formula one as Force India, the Silverstone based team could change its name ahead of the 2016 season.
Multiple reports from Mexico City suggest team supremo Vijay Mallya is in talks with Aston Martin, the British luxury car manufacturer, about a naming sponsorship deal and a new blue and gold livery.
The Mercedes engines, meanwhile, would also be rebranded as Aston Martin, thanks to the close relationship between the two carmakers outside of F1.
"We are in discussion," Mallya admitted, "nothing has been finalised, we have many options and I'll be able to confirm or otherwise once I have something to say."
The Indian millionaire added that he doesn't like to "count my chickens before they hatch".
The reports also claim that Force India is in talks with Johnnie Walker, the whisky brand and current McLaren sponsor.
Johnnie Walker is owned by Diageo, a drinks company with strong links to Mallya's own alcoholic beverages firm United Breweries.
Force India had a difficult start to the 2015 season amid a cash flow crisis, and has since lodged a complaint about the sport's governance with the European Commission.
"We've been through hard times, as every team does," team driver Sergio Perez told the Spanish newspaper El Pais. "This sport and life in general is always like that.
"But it was always very clear that we are going forward," said the Mexican.
A tripartite alliance between Force India, Aston Martin and Johnnie Walker could be another blow to McLaren, the once-great F1 grandee who are enduring an horror season in collaboration with struggling engine maker Honda.
"Many people ask me if I'm glad that McLaren are in trouble and I'm really not," said Perez, who was dispensed by the British outfit after a single season in 2013.
"I have great friends there who deserve to be doing better because they are very capable. But I think there are decisions made in the past that are being paid for today," he added.
"My only regret is that I signed for McLaren. Other than that, nothing."