MAY 5, 2017
Mallya troubles won't hurt Force India says Fernley
Bob Fernley says team boss Vijay Mallya's legal troubles will not affect Force India.
As deputy boss, Fernley has been left in charge of the race team while former Indian billionaire Mallya, also the team co-owner, is unable to travel after having his passport seized.
Now, the Indian government is trying to extradite the flamboyant 61-year-old, but Fernley insists all is well with the F1 team.
"Vijay has always been the subject of a lot of speculation over many years and it never had the slightest impact on the team," he told France's Auto Hebdo.
"This new episode will have no more impact than the others," Fernley added.
Force India finished the 2016 season in an admirable fourth place, despite having one of the smallest budgets on the grid.
The Silverstone based team has now started 2017 well, but Fernley says the gap from the top of the grid to the midfield has blown out.
"The top three teams are out of reach because of their ability to spend," he said.
"When you spend a third of the EUR 300 million that the big teams do, you can't aspire to those top places. But don't detect any frustration in my remarks -- it's just an observation."