Vijay Mallya has said his Force India team could undergo a name change to give the team a more “international flavour” in a bid to attract potential new sponsors.
The team formerly known as Jordan, Midland and then Spyker was rebranded as Force India for the 2008 season after being purchased by the Indian businessman in an aim to appeal to Indian backers.
“I named the team Force India only to give India and all of the motorsport fans in my country pride of place on a Formula 1 grid,” he told Reuters at the time.
Since then the Silverstone-based outfit has proven to be a solid midfield competitor. They finished an impressive and career-best fourth in last year’s Constructors’ Championship and currently sit in the same position after seven races this season.
Speaking to Motorsport.com Mallya now explained: “There is a growing feeling that maybe since we are a much-improved team in terms of performance and attracting more international sponsors, and sadly less Indian sponsors, there is a debate as to why the name should not be changed to give it a more international flavour.
“There are some people who believe the current name Force India is restrictive psychologically.
“I’m considering along with the other shareholders what steps to take but it’s a major decision and one that is not going to be taken in a hurry without due consideration.
“More importantly, we have to look at the way the F1 scenario is unfolding under Liberty ownership. If they follow the NFL model, then of course the name becomes even more important because it’s a franchise model where the focus is on the name. But the current pattern may continue.
“These are all issues I’ll consider with the other shareholders before arriving at any final conclusion.”
Mallya (pictured right) confirmed there was a “proposal on the table” from a sponsor regarding the name change and that the team is in “negotiations for some additional sponsorships as well”.
The team was previously linked with a rebranding to Aston Martin in 2015, which is 5% owned by Daimler AG, the parent company of the team’s long-term engine supplier Mercedes AMG.
The 61-year-old emphasised the potential name change has “absolutely” no connection to his current legal situation, a claim that few insiders would believe.
He was arrested in April in Britain on behalf of Indian authorities who are seeking to extradite him on money laundering charges in relation to unpaid loans tied to his failed Kingfisher Airlines company.
“The fact the country of India and me are not the best partners is something that has been going on for a few years now. This is nothing new. I haven’t in the last few years considered any name change.
“I haven’t in the last few years considered any name change. It’s purely to do with current sponsorship, a proposal on the table and sponsorship going forward for the team.”
Images via Sahara Force India F1