Honda F1 website

JANUARY 6, 2018

Sponsors pushing for Force India name change

Otmar Szafnauer admits Force India is under pressure to change its name.

Owner Vijay Mallya is locked in a bitter legal battle with the Indian government, but he insists that deliberations about dropping 'India' from the name is more about internationalising the team for global sponsors.

The name 'Force One' was considered, but Liberty Media blocked that on the basis that it could be shortened to 'F1'.

And other names have been ruled out because third parties registered them.

Nonetheless, sporting boss Szafnauer admits sponsors are pushing for the word 'India' to be dropped.

"Yes, a couple of potential sponsors said that if we don't change, then we don't come on board," he told The Citizen.

"I think they just thought if they are going to sponsor a team, they will sponsor a team which is not really tied to one country," Szafnauer explained.

He said a list of alternatives is being drawn up, and would not rule out the word 'Force' also being dropped.

"We haven't decided," Szafnauer insisted. "So it's hard to say."

He also said the Silverstone based team will have "an enhanced version" of its pink livery for 2018, as per the sponsorship deal with Austrian company BWT.

(GMM)