Photo: Getty Images

Formula One: Could Force India sale be getting closer?

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With team owner Vijay Mallya facing major legal problems in his native India, the sale of the Force India Formula One team may be getting closer.

According to several media reports, British energy drink firm Rich Energy is reportedly leading a consortium to purchase the team for 200 million British pounds (approximately $278 million U.S.).

Force India majority team owner Vijay Mallya. Photo: Getty Images

Mallya has been accused of money laundering in India and has been fighting efforts to extradite him to face charges in his native land.

Force India is one of the leading organizations in F1 and finished fourth in last season’s Constructors’ Championship. With drivers Sergio Perez (Mexico) and Esteban Ocon (France), 2018 is looking like it could be one of Force India’s most promising years.

According to The Sun newspaper in the United Kingdom, Rich Energy is a fast-growing company that already has tie-ins with the Monaco Grand Prix, Pirelli Tires, Hilton Hotels and England’s West Ham Ladies football team.

The reports of a sale also come amidst speculation about a possible name change as well, with Force F1 Team rumored to be the name under which the team may compete going forward.

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Gabby Chaves to sub for Joao Barbosa at Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen

Photo: IndyCar
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Gabby Chaves is set to return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Watkins Glen International later this month.

The Columbian-American driver, who last competed in IMSA in 2016 – with the DeltaWing outfit – will sub for the injured Joao Barbosa – he hurt his wrist in a cycling accident earlier in June – in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.

Chaves will partner Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Cadillac.

Chaves expressed gratitude for being asked to fill in, but kept his enthusiasm muted, noting that he is getting the opportunity ultimately because another driver got hurt.

“The first thing is of course that you never want to have an opportunity because someone got hurt, so this is an unfortunate circumstance with Joao having his injury,”said Chaves. “But I appreciate the opportunity to join the championship-leading team. Mustang Sampling Racing has had a strong start this year and hopefully I can help the team continue to have those kinds of results.”

Chaves added, “I love Watkins Glen, it is a great track and I am looking forward to racing the Cadillac Prototype there. I’m excited to be going back to endurance racing. With different classes all racing at the same time, there is a lot for the driver to deal with as you work through traffic. So I am looking forward to racing at the Glen again, and I really appreciate this opportunity with Mustang Sampling Racing.”

Chaves’ most recent IMSA event was the 2016 Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, when he finished seventh in the Prototype class.

The No. 5 Action Express Cadillac currently sits tied with the sister No. 31 Whelen Engineer Racing Cadillac of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr atop the IMSA standings, though Barbosa’s hopes of a driver’s championship are set to take an enormous hit with him missing Watkins Glen.