Category Archives: Force India

Formula One: Premium partners flock to Force India

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Judging by additional branding adorning the VJM10 and partnership announcements in the off season,  plaudits surrounding Sahara Force India’s forth place finish in the 2016 Formula One Constructors Championship have extended far beyond the commentators and fans.

With an increasing number of leading teams in Formula One struggling to secure new partners Force India are bucking the trend. The teams ability to attract new partners can be attributed in part to their success on track, but perhaps of more relevance, the way in which the success has been achieved. It is a well known fact the Force India operate on a significantly lower budget than the majority of other teams on the grid. Rather than complaining about a lack of finances, the team focus there efforts on maximising what they do have. The ratio of investment to performance gain and as a consequence exposure gain is far higher with Force India than with any other team on the grid. No doubt the marketing team of the Silverstone based team use this information as a key factor in presenting to new partners. The approach is paying off!

Diageo, have upgraded their relationship with Force India, increasing branding space and influence on the 2017 livery and shifting the brand they are seeking to promote through the partnership from mass market offering Smirnoff, to premium brand Johnnie Walker.

Innovative premium watch brand Felio Siby have extended their partnership with Force India for a second year, with promises of unique brand activation events through the season.

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Hype Energy Drink have expanded their partnership within the sport for the third season in succession. With increased branding on the VJM1o in premium exposure positions.

New clothing partner Farah have joined the team, supplying a unique range of travel wear and fan range to be launched later in the season.

Eye Respect – LDNR eyewear join Force India as the official sunglasses / eyewear partner for the team, taking brand positioning on the wing mirrors of the VJM10

Forex Trading partner FXTM also join the team with branding on the rear sidepod of the car. As forex trading moves into the mainstream Force India have done well to secure a leader in the sector.

With online gambling partner W88.com and digital technology partner Orangebus also joining the team, the Force India marketing team should be more than satisfied with an impressive winter work rate!

Another interesting component of the partnerships Force India have established ahead of the 2017 season is the amount of deals which are customer facing. Increasingly partnerships within Formula One are focused on business to business relationship building or hosting high net worth individuals. Force India are establishing partnerships which incorporate a consumer facing offering. They are achieving this whilst also introducing partners with aspirational product offerings.

Formula One: The Final Seats

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As the  F1 world rapidly heads towards the winter break. The sport finds its self in a highly unusual position of having for seats still to be confirmed on the 2017 grid.

Whilst it is not out of the ordinary for seats at the lower end of the field to still be open at this point on in the year, for a seat to be open with the championship winning team is almost unimaginable. Nico Rosberg’s shock retirement from the sport has effectively stalled the driver market with no driver or team wanting to make a commitment before Mercedes conclude a deal with whoever their new driver will be.

At the time of writing favourites for the drive alongside Lewis Hamilton with the Silver Arrows in 2017 are; Valtteri Bottas, Pascal Wehrlein, and my own favourite Sergio Perez. Which ever driver is awarded the drive will have a knock on effect for the teams they are currently or likely to be driving for.

Should Mercedes manage to agree terms with Williams and they release Bottas, the team will be left with serious lack of experience in their driver line up as they head towards one of the most technically challenging regulation changes in two decades., As such working with Pascal Wehrlein who has only taken part in 21 races in unlikely to be their first choice.  More likely would be development driver Paul Di Resta taking the role or recently retired Felipe Massa or Jenson Button making an unexpected return.

In the scenario in which Mercedes take the brave move of putting Pascal Wehrlein in the second seat of the W08, Manor Racing will be left with two seats to fill. The team are likely to be secure drivers with funding, which could lead to a return of a funded Rio Haryanto to the grid. Anther option could be Felipe Nasr should, a driver Bernie Ecclestone has commented he is keen to keep on the grid to assure Brazilian interest in the Championship. Manor Racing development driver Jordan King is likely to find a role within the team. Dependant on the budget he brings this could be in the role of reserve or second driver.

Moving to Sauber, with Marcus Ericsson confirmed the rejuvenated Swiss team have one seat still to fill. 2017 will be a season of rebuilding for the team, as such their focus will be on ensuring consistency and strong feedback. In an ideal world I can imagine the team would like to work with a driver already familiar with the world of F1. Critics may dismiss this option but I would not rule out Pastor Maldonado finding a new home in Hinwil. Should the team head down the rookie route GP2 vice champion Antonio Giovinazzi would be a bold move and one demonstrating the team’s commitment to the future.

Sergio Perez moving to Mercedes would cause Sahara Force India a great deal of pain. Of course Mercedes would compensate the team, but over the past 3 seasons Force India have focused the majority of their business development efforts around building a profile in Mexico. To loose Perez would be a major blow. As such I can see them looking to replace one Mexican for another and signing Esteban Gutiérrez to the team.

One thing is for sure, the F1 silly season is far from over and it still has a few surprises in store!

Formula One: Force India’s Future?

18 year old Jehan Daruvala might not be a house hold name just yet, but his success on the British & European Go Karting scene and Formula Renault 2.0 over the past two season’s alongside the likes of 2016 Mclaren Autosport BRDC Award Winner Lando Norris, suggest he could be name to watch out for in the coming years.

Finishing 3rd in Sahara Force India “One in a Billion” programme in 2011. A campaign which saw bought together and nurtured the greatest racing prospects across India. Jehan relocated to the UK to pursue a full time career in motorsport. Jehan remains a firm part of the Sahara Force India academy as they support his development through junior categories with a long term ambition which will see him take to the wheel of an F1 car.

Earlier this month Jehan announced he will join Carlin Racing for the 2017 season, taking part in the European F3 championship. A championship which over the past two seasons has become more of a feeder series to F1 than GP2 with Max Verstappen, Esteban Ocon, and Lance Stroll head to the F1 following their success in the ultra competitive championship. Could Jehan sit alongside Esteban Ocon with Sahara Force India in 2018? Only time will tell.

To keep up to date with Jehan’s progress follow him on twitter here

Formula One: Felio Siby join Sahara Force India as official “Lifestyle Partner”

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Luxury design house, Felio Siby, has announced its multi year corporate brand sponsorship of the Sahara Force India Formula One race team.

The Miami based luxury purveyor of apparel and high-end accessories for men and women has formed a unique partnership with the UK based team – a business alliance considered to be the first of its kind in the world of Formula One.  Sahara Force India welcomes Felio Siby as the team’s official Lifestyle Partner, whereby the independent fashion house has designed a limited edition timepiece for race team members to commemorate the exclusive partnership.

The Sahara Force India Watch by Felio Siby is the first Formula One team endorsement for the luxury design brand and a crowning achievement by Miami-based company founder and CEO Dominique Siby, from Gabon in Africa. The multi-year lifestyle partnership has given naming rights for the Felio Siby logo to appear on the Sahara Force India Formula One racecar throughout the 2016 season and beyond.


We are thrilled to join forces as the official Lifestyle Partner for Sahara Force India,” says Dominique Siby, Founder and CEO of Felio Siby: “This year comes with great emotional significance for me, being the ten-year anniversary of my father’s passing. Working with a Formula One team was a project we always wanted to do together. I dreamed of being part of this sport since I was a child, watching the timeless battles between Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost.  This partnership represents our joint pursuit of world class performance and precision engineering and we look forward to sharing our Sahara Force India Watch with the world.”

Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director of Sahara Force India says: “A luxury watch-maker and a Formula One team are a perfect match: both pursue excellence, have absolute attention to detail and work to produce awe-inspiring machines through the wonder of human ingenuity. We are delighted to welcome Felio Siby to our family and we are looking forward to sharing the successes of a long and fruitful partnership.”

Dominique Siby experienced his first Formula One competition at the Singapore Grand Prix in 2012 and soon converted in to an avid enthusiast.  His dream was to design a watch for an F1 team but this vision turned out to be a much larger corporate venture unbeknown to the founder.  After speaking to the Sahara Force India Team Principal, Vijay Mallya in February 2016, it was agreed that Felio Siby was an ideal match, not only as a team car sponsor, but as the team’s official Lifestyle Partner. By May 2016, Dominique had the team’s official timepiece designed in Switzerland and ready to be unveiled at the Monaco Grand Prix.

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Black and orange has been chosen for the Sahara Force India Watch – to reflect the race team’s official colors. The mounted figures 1 and 7, outlines of the two inner circular dials and both hands of the watch itself are all given a distinctive white finish that provide a bold contrast upon the black “Cotes de Geneve” Hexagonal decorative facial engraving, on which the .2-carat diamond is set. A stylish orange trim is positioned around the outside of the watch face, and a small window to reveal the inner organs of the watch’s Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier Swiss movement can be seen above the center. The Sahara Force India logo is placed in white at the 3 o’clock position, as a stamp of authenticity.  Casing made with black Titanium also features the Felio Siby signature crocodile imprint, and a premium quality black rubber watchstrap reinforces its sporty design. With a self-winding power reserve of 50 hours and weighing only 80 grams, the limited edition Sahara Force India Watch by Felio Siby is priced at an eye watering $150,000 and is now available

As an official race team sponsor, the Felio Siby logo and corporate identity was first seen on the nose of the VJM09 Force India F1 racecar at the Russian Grand Prix in May this year, prior to the watch being unveiled with both drivers during the Monaco Grand Prix.

Additional Felio Siby product lines are in development by Dominique for the Sahara Force India F1 team, including a series of travel accessories, as part of the Lifestyle partnership

Click here for more information on Felio Siby and to check out the Force India range.

Formula One: Active Ticketing joins Force India in Abu Dhabi

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Active Ticketing have joined Sahara Force India as partner for the 2016 season finale. The technology and security company will deliver an innovative mobile application at the 2016 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Active Ticketing branding will be visible on the chassis side of the VJM09 and on the drivers’ suits.
The Active Ticketing mobile platform will enhance the fan experience for the Sahara Force India VIP guests, who will be able to access a mobile pass, enter competitions, and view exclusive content about the team.
The system will generate valuable new insights for the team and showcase the benefits of mobile experiences as part of Sahara Force India’s hospitality offering.
Otmar Szafnauer, COO of Sahara Force India: “Mobile interaction is the new frontier of fan engagement and Active Ticketing is at the forefront of this sector. It’s great to be working together to offer our guests a fresh dimension to their Grand Prix experience.”
Lee Booth, CEO of Active Ticketing: “Sahara Force India is one of the most innovative teams in F1 today. Partnering with them to deliver a premium and engaging VIP guest platform is hopefully just the start of a long-term strategic relationship to create the ultimate fan and team experience.”
For more information on Active Ticketing head to the company website here
 

Formula One: Levi’s join Sahara Force India

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Sahara Force India have announced the iconic Levi’s® Brand as a team partner for the remainder of the 2016 season in Latin America.
The famous Levi’s® logo will appear on the roll hoop of the VJM09 for this week’s Mexican Grand Prix, as well as on the drivers’ race suits and other team assets.
Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director of Sahara Force India: “It’s exciting to welcome the Levi´s® Brand to the Force India family. It’s a brand known across the world and ideally placed to benefit from Formula One’s global reach and exposure. Each pair of Levi’s® jeans is the product of a long history of creativity and innovation – the same values on which our sport is built. We look forward to a successful partnership.”
 
Arcadio Jaramillo, Levi´s® Marketing Director: “Auto Sports Racing drives a huge engagement across Latin America. Although the F1 calendar travels to Mexico and Brazil, fans from across the region follow or travel to experience the ultimate expression of the sport in these two countries creating an exciting moment for the fans at this time of the year. Force India has grown very rapidly as one of the most loved teams by fans across the globe. Partnering with this team places the Levi´s® Brand in the Center of Culture in our region with the right partner

Formula One: Force India confirm Hulkenberg departure

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Nico Hulkenberg will leave Sahara Force India at the end of the season to pursue other opportunities within Formula One. His last race with the team will be in Abu Dhabi next month.
Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director: “Everybody at Sahara Force India wishes Nico well as he embarks upon a different path in Formula One. Having spent five years with us, Nico has become a great friend and contributed a huge amount to the team’s success. He’s an outstanding driver, who has scored more points for this team than anybody else. While it’s true we will miss Nico, we respect his decision to explore fresh opportunities and it would be wrong to stand in his way.”
As of writing, Hulkenberg’s 2017 plans and beyond have not been confirmed. It is widely expected he will be announced as a Renault Sport F1 driver in the coming hours.

Formula One: Silly Season revisited

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The 2016 silly season on the face of it has turned out to be some what of a damp squib. With Mercedes, Ferrari, & Red Bull locking down their drivers early on change at the front of the field has been ruled out

Back in May this year I made a few predictions around changes. As the F1 circus returns from a well deserved summer break, outstanding driver agreements will feature highly on many teams ‘to do’ lists. Based on the current driver market I’ve revisited my silly season predictions. It’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section below or through twitter (@jonnywilde)

Mercedes AMG Petronas:

As predicted Nico Rosberg’s contract with the team has been renewed. This comes despite a number of incidents between Nico & Lewis on track. Rosberg now has a contract with Mercedes until 2018. This sees his agreement fall in line with Hamilton’s contract. If nothing else, salary demands of Lewis and Nico by 2018 are likely to necessitate a change in line up. With this in mind Mercedes are priming Wehrlein and Ocon as future works drivers.

 Scuderia Ferrari:

Many expected the Scuderia to replace Kimi Räikkönen in 2017, I suggested Sergio Perez would be the ideal candidate to take on the role, but with a strong first half of the year Ferrari have elected to maintain the Vettel, Räikkönen line up for a 3rd season. Kimi’s life away from the track appears to be having a positive effect on his performance as a driver and as a Ferrari brand ambassador. With changes in the Ferrari management team, driver stability for 2017 and perhaps beyond could be a good thing.

Red Bull Racing

At the time of writing my original silly season article, I commented Verstappen was a shoe in for the second seat with Red Bull Racing alongside Daniel Ricciardo. I also suggested it could happen before the end of the year. I did not expect it happen so quickly. Nor did I expect Max to win a race in 2016! (did anyone?) Both Daniel and Max are now locked down at Red Bull Racing until at least 2018. Putting the Red Bull Racing Junior Driver Development programme on hold.

Williams Martini Racing

2016 has been tough for Williams. The team have fallen behind in the development race, possibly / hopefully due to an early switch in focus to 2017. With engine performance convergence emerging, budget shortfalls in comparison to the top 3 have been felt more than in recent seasons. It seems to be widely expected that 2016 will be Felipe Massa’s last year in F1, with this in mind Botta’s performances haven’t been strong enough. I suggested in the previous article that Kyvat and Bottas’ would be a formidable line up for the team. I now see this as less likely. I struggle to buy into the Button return narrative, but can imagine sponsors would be more than happy to see him re-join the team. That being said if Williams adopt a bold strategy they could look towards development driver Alex Lynn, and replace Bottas with Jenson. If they require funding alongside a driver, Perez could be attractive, although this would be nothing more than a lateral move for the Mexican.

Mclaren Honda

Jenson Button is out of contact at the end of this season. Fernando Alonso is contracted until the end of 2017. The team have Stoffel Vandoorne waiting in the wings. I expected Jenson to leave the team at the end of the season, If the 2017 Mclaren Honda is not in a championship contending position I also see Alonso finally calling time on his F1 career. Stoffel will step up into a race seat with the team for 2017, but who will he race along side? Whilst the original Mclaren Perez relationship did not end well in 2013. Sergio brings substantial backing and has consistently over delivered for Force India. Could he be an outside bet for a seat with Mclaren? The team has the manufacturer backing Perez’s sees as a must to contend for future championships.  With the top team drives locked down, Honda or Renault are his next best bet.

Sarhara Force India

Vijay Mallya has gone on record to state both drivers will be retained for 2017. I do not see this happening. As mentioned above I believe Sergio will move on to pastures new. To me the same logic applies to Hülkenberg. Neither driver is going to contend for championships with Force India. Neither driver is getting any younger. I believe Hülkenberg will move away from F1 towards WEC in 2017. This leaves Force India will a huge budget and talent shortfall. The team may look towards Mercedes and taking on a development driver in the form of Pascal Wehrlein for 2017, who on circuits with which he has prior knowledge has looked very impressive at Manor this season. The team could overcome the budget shortfall and maintain the Mexican links with the team through promoting Alfonso Celis or picking up Esteban Gutiérrez after his tough return to the sport with Haas. Equally, the team have Russian driver Nikita Mazepin on their books, he brings backing in the form of Uralchem and whilst a little hot tempered has performed strongly in junior series.

Renault

2016 was always a holding / building year for the team. They inherited a driver partnership with Jolyon Palmer and to be honest, he has looked a little out of his depth at times this season. I don’t expect the team to retain him. Renault are keen to re-establish the French connection with the team. Assuming Ocon performs well at Manor in the second half of this season I expect him to move over the Renault for 2017. Renault will be keen for the French man to sever his links to Mercedes moving forward and will likely be prepared to pay for the privilege. The other seat at Renault, to me, is between Kevin Magnesun and Sergio Perez. The team know KMag, and know what he can do with the car, but in Perez they have a driver capable of over achieving and a driver with significant backing and a huge fan base. Perez and Ocon would be a strong line up for a team rebuilding and looking to challenge for future championships.

Scuderia Toro Rosso

I expect the driver line up of Sainz and Kyvat to go unchanged into 2017. Sainz was confirmed earlier in the season, his role is secure. With Kyvat the story is a little different, he has struggled since returning to the team from Red Bull Racing. His ultimate pace and skill are not in question. The team must work with him to rebuild his self confidence. STR has historically been the home of junior Red Bull drivers. Pierre Gasly would be the logical driver to make the step up to the team in 2017, but I personally see Red Bull placing him else where, possibly with Manor. STR in order to grow should no longer be seen as a proving ground for future Red Bull Racing drivers and with the current line up at RBR locked down until 2018, STR have an opportunity to operate as their own entity.

The Haas F1 Team

After an incredible start in F1, Haas have settled in a midfield team. I expect 2017 will be a huge challenge for the team. With major regulations changes and the team no longer having such unregulated support from Ferrari I expect them to be battling at the very rear of the field. Grosjean appears to have very few options away from the team, that being said a return to Renault should not be ruled out. For Haas to bring F1 to America they would do very well to sign Indy 500 winner Alex Rossi for 2017 alongside Grojean. I expect Esteban Gutiérrez to move on.

The Sauber F1 Team

With the future of the team secure through Longbow Finances. The Swiss based team can look towards rebuilding themselves. Security in reality has come a little too late to kick start a 2017 challenge into anything more than a return to consistent points finishes, but this is a great place to start. Stories continue to swirl around Marcus Ericsson’s backers being behind the Longbow Finance investment into the team. My personal take is that even if this is true I do not believe the backing is linked to Ericsson maintaining a drive with the team. Investments are made with an expectation of return not simply to pay for a drive. That being said I hope the team will maintain their current line up into 2017. Stability during a period of rebuilding is key, and it should not be forgotten both Nasr and Ericsson are more than capable of turning in strong performances.

Manor Racing

The Manor Racing team have a history of announcing driver partnerships very late on into the year. Rio Haryanto’s mid season demotion to reserve driver demonstrate the continued reliance on drivers with backing. I expect the team will be keen to maintain a development driver relationship to a larger team, be that with Pascal Wehrlein and Mercedes or Gasly and Red Bull Racing (despite the Mercedes power unit agreement) The second seat at Manor, I believe will be taken by Jordan King. He has performed admirably in GP2 this season with Racing Engineering and brings a healthy budget to his seat. It should not be forgotten his father supported the team in their re-emergence from bankruptcy.

Spa, Monza and Singapore have a history of being a circuit in which driver announcements are made, expect significant news in the coming weeks.

 

Formula One: Sponsors will decide my future – Perez

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Speaking in the drivers press conference ahead of the 2016 Hungarian Grand Prix, Sergio Perez gave comment on recent remarks from Force India Team Principle Vijay Mallya that both he and team mate Nico Hulkenberg would remain with the team for the 2017 season;

“I’m very lucky to have many sponsors behind me, so I’m not alone. I don’t decide my future on my own. I need to speak with my group of sponsors to see what is best for our future, and then we will decide. We have some time in the summer break, and then we will decided what is best for my career”

When pushed on the Mallya’s comments around his 2017 agreement with the team Sergio confirmed;

“What Vijay says is correct, but as I said, it depends on my sponsors as well. We will decide together what to do”

With opportunities at Ferrari, Red Bull Racing closed down for 2017 and Mercedes likely to retain it’s current line up, opportunities for Sergio Perez to move to a front running team appear limited. However, neither driver at Williams is confirmed for 2017, whilst this on paper in terms of 2016 standings would appear at best to be a lateral move. A team with the resources of Williams tend to perform strongly in a period of regulation change. The team could be an attractive proposition for the Mexican and is sponsors in 2017.

Formula One: Catching up with Giancarlo Fisichella

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Giancarlo Fisichella, the last Italian driver to see the podium of an F1 race back in 2009 in a spectacular Belgian Grand Prix with saw him finish second for Force India. The race will be remembered not only for a questionable move Kimi Räikkönen pulled on Fisichella to take the win, but also as a race in which Giancarlo was all but announced as a Ferrari driver for the following event before the race had even finished!

It must be the dream of every Italian in motorsport to get the call from the Scuderia. With Ferrari suffering a torrid 2009, struggling with regulation changes and working with reserve drivers following the terrifying accident for Felipe Massa in Hungary. The prospect of an Italian podium finisher making his début for the team at the Italian Grand Prix was exactly the good news story the team needed.  Giancarlo leapt at the chance to join the team despite being fully aware his 2009 prospects would be minimal. His mind has possibly already moved on from Formula One. After 14 years in the sport he was ready for a new challenge. Joining the Ferrari family was exactly that.

In this film from Mobil One The Grid we catch up with Giancarlo Fisichella and his life after Formula One.

For a real-time view of Giancarlo Fisichella’s life with Ferrari, he is currently in 2nd position in the GTE-Pro class in his Ferrari 488 at the Le Mans 24hrs.