Mallya tempers Ralf-to-Spyker rumours

Thu, 11 October 2007, 11:39

The new owner of Spyker has tempered speculation that Ralf Schumacher is in pole position to rescue his formula one career with the Silverstone based team in 2008.

32-year-old Schumacher and Vijay Mallya became close friends as the Indian sponsored Toyota through his Kingfisher brand in 2007.

And with the German now committed to leaving Toyota after next Sunday’s Brazilian grand prix, some keen-eyed observers spotted his manager Hans Mahr in conversation with Mallya in the Shanghai paddock.

Asked specifically about Ralf’s chances of landing a seat for next year, Mallya said: “I personally hold him in high regard.

“But a driver lineup is not something that should be decided by the heart but by the brain. I want drivers that can raise the standards in the team.

“I always get asked if we will have an Indian driver and my response is, if I can find one who is ready, yes. But only under the parameters just said,” he told F1’s official website.

Mallya added: “Drivers are a crucial part of the team so the driver lineup is a serious matter and not a sympathy contest.”

The team’s future CEO, meanwhile, refused to be drawn on whether Spyker will be renamed something like ‘Pride of India’ next year.

Changing a team’s name is a complicated affair that, among other things, can require the unanimous consent of every other grand prix outfit.

“It is my vision that India is part of the name, yes,” Mallya answered. “What it will be in the end is not decided yet so everybody will have to wait.”

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