NOVEMBER 5, 2008
Changes ahead for Force India
Force India team boss Vijay Mallya is expected to announce some changes in his F1 team in the days ahead with an announcement due that the team will be using an entire drivetrain from McLaren-Mercedes in 2009. We expect that to be announced on Monday. McLaren is willing to do it and it seems that the price is right but Mallya has had to extract himself from a prior commitment to Ferrari.
This is likely to have a number of side-effects for the unhappy team. There are rumours that a deal between Force India and Mercedes will result in the departure from the team of Colin Kolles, who is understood to be less than popular in Mercedes-Benz circles. Kolles has run Mercedes-Benz engines in Formula 3 in the past but in recent years has been closer to rival firm Audi, which is headquartered in Kolles's home town of Ingolstadt. Kolles has been running a pair of Audis in the DTM in recent years and there are rumours that he is now looking to expand that programme to run an Audi-engined sports car in the Le Mans Series.
We have also heard stories suggesting that Mike Gascoyne will also be departing the team as neither he nor the team have been very happy together in recent months. Gascoyne has a habit of telling team owners things they do not wish to hear but has a record that suggests that he is rather more realistic about F1 than some of those for whom he has worked. While he is never going to win prizes for diplomacy, Gascoyne still knows how to make cars more competitive, as has been proved this year with Force India. Mallya might have wanted more but the leap forward in performance was pretty impressive and one might suggest that the choice of drivers was part of the reason that the team did not score any points.