Getty Images

Force India deputy says no fear over F1 team’s future

2 Comments

SAKHIR, Bahrain (AP) Force India’s deputy team principal Bob Fernley says there are no concerns about the future of the Formula One team despite the legal and financial troubles surrounding co-owners Vijay Mallya and Roy Sahara.

Fernley, speaking from the Bahrain Grand Prix, said: “I don’t think there are any concerns for Force India” regardless of the ownership uncertainty.

Mallya, being pursued by creditors who have taken action through Indian courts, has been unable to attend the opening two races of this season while Sahara remains in jail over unpaid debts.

Companies controlled by Mallya and Sahara own 85 percent of the Force India team, which is among their few remaining realizable assets.

“Vijay’s issues are well-publicized but, like all things, there’s been a bit of media over-reaction,” Fernley said Friday.

“Force India is blessed with a very good technical team and that technical team has progressively moved Force India up the constructors’ table and today we are realizing some of the best returns the team has ever had from the payments side of things.

“We also have a very good commercial team. And the commercial team is allowing Force India pretty well now to stand on its own feet.”

The remaining 15 percent of Force India is mostly owned by companies associated with Michael Mols, one of the team’s directors who headed the Spyker F1 team that was the forerunner of Force India.

Alex Palou fastest as several go off course during IndyCar practice at IMS

IndyCar Harvest GP practice
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Alex Palou paced the opening practice Thursday for the IndyCar Harvest GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

The Dale Coyne Racing rookie turned a 1-minute, 10.177-second lap around the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course in his No. 55 Dallara-Honda.

Jack Harvey was second, followed by Colton Herta, points leader Scott Dixon and Max Chilton.

PRACTICE CHART: Click here to see the speed rundown from Thursday’s session

FRIDAY AT IMS: Details for watching Race 1 of the Harvest GP

Qualifying for Friday’s race will be at 6:20 p.m. ET Thursday on NBC Sports Gold.

Will Power, who won the pole position for the July 4 race at the track, spun off course with just more than a minute left in the session after the left rear of his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet made slight contact with the right front of Alexander Rossi’s No. 28 Dallara-Honda.

Power was among several drivers who went off track, but there were no damaged cars during the session. Marcus Ericsson missed the final 5 minutes of the practice after being penalized for causing a red flag with a Turn 8 spin.

Arrow McLaren SP drivers Pato O’Ward and Helio Castroneves, who is driving for Oliver Askew (who is recovering from concussion-like symptoms), also veered off course as did rookie Rinus VeeKay and Santino Ferrucci.

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson was in attendance at the session before racing Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. Johnson will be driving a partial schedule of road and street courses in IndyCar next season for Chip Ganassi Racing.

“Literally, the smallest of details, I can pick up on,” Johnson told NBC Sports pit reporter Kevin Lee. “It’s been really nice today just to see how a session starts and obviously to jump on the radio and listen to how the systems work and then obviously you get into the car and the setup and such. I’m at ground zero right now, a 45-year-old rookie trying to learn my way into a new sport essentially.”

Johnson told Lee his sponsorship hunt to run a Ganassi car “has gone really well. The fact that I’m here today and ingrained so deeply in the team is a great sign of where things are going. Looking forward to getting behind the wheel of a car soon and hopefully having some announcements for the world to see soon, too.”

Fans were in attendance Thursday for the first time this season at IMS, which is allowed a limited crowd of 10,000 for its races this weekend.