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Mallya chasing international appeal with Force India name change

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Force India Formula 1 owner Vijay Mallya hopes that changing the name of his team for 2018 will help to appeal to a more international audience of sponsors as discussions regarding a rebrand continue.

Force India made its F1 debut back in 2008 and strongly embraced its national identity, only for plans for a name change to emerge last month.

A number of companies with links to Mallya using ‘Force One’ were established in the UK in the past six weeks, pointing towards a new name for the team.

Speaking to NBCSN over the British Grand Prix weekend, Mallya explained that he believed a name change to be necessary for Force India in 2018 in order to open up to more international sponsors.

“When I named the team Force India, it was to attract and appeal to the millions of young motorsport fans in India,” Mallya said.

“At that time, I was hopeful that there would be an Indian Grand Prix and that there would be many Indian sponsors.

“The Indian Grand Prix happened, but it was sadly short lived, and doesn’t seem to be any prospect of it coming back.

“And there have been no Indian sponsors as I had earlier hoped as they all seem to be putting their money into cricket.

“So I have to necessarily appeal to a more international audience of sponsors, so I must give the team an international identity.

“Force India is too India-centric, and that’s why discussions are happening on a name change.”

Despite the creation of the Force One companies, Mallya insisted that “we haven’t decided on anything yet” for 2018, but confirmed he wanted to retain ‘Force’ in the name.

“There are several suggestions. I want to be able to keep the first word, ‘Force’, and add a suffix to it,” Mallya said.

“But it’s a discussion stage.”

Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

Extreme E drivers Andretti
Extreme E
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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”