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.”