OCTOBER 7, 2011
Force India to change hands?
The Asian Age is reporting that Vijay Mallya, having shut down his Kingfisher Red low-cost airline, is now planning to sell Force India.
Mallya is said to be in talks with Subrata Roy-owned Sahara India Pariwar, an Indian multi-business conglomerate. Roy, 63, is among the most powerful men in India and the second biggest employee after the national railway.
Mallya and Dutchman Michiel Mol bought the Spyker F1 team in 2007. The squad has performed solidly since, currently lying sixth in the 2011 constructors' championship, 12 points clear of Sauber.
The potential sale of the team can be looked at in two ways. Some would regard the timing as surprising, given the impending inaugural Indian GP at the end of the month and Mallya's ambition to lead a team into such the event.
On the other hand, it would be a perfect publicity opportunity for any new owner. The Sahara group sponsors national Indian cricket and hockey as well as supporting a number of up-and-coming sportsmen in differing disciplines.
While Mallya has declined to put an Indian driver in one of his race seats "until he finds one who is good enough," it is said that Roy would be more likely to go the nationalistic route. That could be good news for Narain Karthikeyan or Karun Chandhok.