APRIL 2, 2016
Force India plays down absent boss Mallya's troubles
Force India deputy Bob Fernley has moved once again to play down the high-profile legal and financial problems surrounding Vijay Mallya.
Mallya, the Silverstone based team's co-owner and boss, was absent from the paddock not only in Australia but now in Bahrain.
The latest news suggests he is offering to repay $600 million of his huge debts amid the collapse of his airline Kingfisher.
Asked if the problems will affect Force India, a midfield F1 team with a modest budget, deputy Fernley said: "Vijay's issues are well publicised but I think there's been a bit of a media overreaction, especially from India.
"I've been in and out of India for over 30 years and the only thing I've learnt is how little I know about India, so I think you've just got to let that flow and for Vijay to deal with it," he added.
Fernley suggested Force India's recent successes in the constructors' championship, finishing a strong sixth and fifth in 2014 and 2015 respectively, have boosted the team's coffers.
"I think today we are realising some of the best returns the team has ever had from the payments side of things, even though we complain about the disparity -- which is a separate issue," he said.
"We also have a very good commercial team, and I think it is allowing Force India to pretty well stand on its own feet, whilst the shareholders are always there to help us -- and Vijay's been the main person doing that over the last nine years.
"It's not a short term, nine years, to be keeping a formula one team going, so I don't think there's any concerns for Force India," Fernley insisted.