The Sahara Force India team has announced it will remain with Mercedes-Benz power for the foreseeable future, after signing a new customer deal that will give it the German engine builder’s entire powertain systems for the 2014 season and beyond.
The agreement will see Mercedes’ entire powertrain systems – including the new turbo engine, energy recovery systems and transmission – which come into effect in the sport’s new technical regulations next year.
“It is a significant milestone to announce our first long-term agreement for powertrain supply under the 2014 regulations,” Mercedes-Benz competition boss Toto Wolff said.
“Sahara Force India was our first genuine customer in Formula 1 back in 2009 and we are delighted to enter an expanded, long-term relationship with them from 2014 onwards. This long-term agreement offers excellent value in terms of the balance between price and performance. We hope it will mean Mercedes-Benz and Sahara Force India working together for the entire life cycle of the new powertrain generation.”
The announcement is a significant vote of confidence in the team, which has continued to be mired in rumours surrounding its long-term future as its two major shareholders are up to their necks in financial strife at home in India.
Team owner Vijay Mallya’s Kingfisher Airlines concern is all but finished, with recent news emerging that the Indian government-run Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has instructed lessors owed still-unpaid debts from the airline to confiscate fifteen or the airline’s aircraft, most of which have remained grounded for months or sold for spare parts. Mallya still owes most of the airline’s staff almost a year’s worth of back pay.
Evidently, the cash needed to pay for the Mercedes-Benz powertrains has to come from somewhere…