Force India in talks with Indian sponsors

Fri, 11 January 2008, 01:45

Force India is in discussions with a number of major potential Indian sponsors, new team co-owner Vijay Mallya has revealed.

At the launch of the Silverstone based team’s inaugural driver lineup following the Spyker buyout, the Indian billionaire said it was currently early days in terms of tapping into the booming economy of the second most populous country in the world.

“Several big companies have come to me already,” Dr Mallya, a flamboyant Indian who arrived at Mumbai’s Grand Hyatt in a red Bentley Continental GT, said.

“They are a bit unfamiliar with the sponsorship of F1, the way the contracts are written, the exposure, the way it is measured etc,” he added.

“But that is a process that goes hand in hand with any new initiative.”

The team’s new marketing boss Vikram Malhotra, meanwhile, revealed that the name ‘Force India’ – as opposed to one of Mallya’s brands such as the airline and former Toyota sponsor Kingfisher – was specifically chosen so that sponsors could come on board without conflicts.

Mallya, who first became involved in the sport as a Benetton sponsor in the 90s, said: “F1 and Force India is a carefully thought out business for me, capitalising on what I see as a huge opportunity for India.

“I think it will be successful, not immediately but over time.”

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