Tag Archives: Force India

Formula One: Force India- 150 not out!

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Brazilian Grand Prix - Race Day - Sao Paulo, Brazil
Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM08. Brazilian Grand Prix, Sunday 15th November 2015. Sao Paulo, Brazil.

 

Sahara Force India Preview the season closing race in Abu Dhabi and celebrate their 150th race in Formula One:

Team Principal, Dr Vijay Mallya, toasts the team’s most successful season ahead of the final race and a special milestone for the team.
 
VJM: “Heading to Abu Dhabi with fifth place in the championship already secured feels pretty good. It means we can approach the last weekend of the season free from pressure and with nothing to lose. Our focus is simply on enjoying the race and ending the season in style. Abu Dhabi will be a special race for us as it marks the 150th of our history as Force India, and we will aim to celebrate it with a strong performance on the track.
“All season I’ve been saying how proud I am of my team – particularly our development curve in the second half of the season. With 81 points from the last eight races we’ve enjoyed our best ever strike rate and we have been competitive at every race. With stable regulations for 2016, there is every reason to believe we can carry this form through the winter and into the new season. There is plenty to be excited about and a lot of positive energy in the team.
“This weekend’s race is simply another chance to demonstrate how far we have come. Our aim will be to qualify in the top ten and add a final helping of points to our tally.”
 
 
Sergio on Abu Dhabi
Sergio Perez savours his best ever season and looks ahead to the final race of the year.
 
Sergio: “The 2015 season has gone by so quickly, but I have lots of great memories and I’m very proud of what we have achieved. I think it’s probably been my best season in Formula One in terms of results and also the most enjoyable. We have grown a lot during the course of the year and we have had some special days, with a highlight being my podium in Russia and my home race in Mexico.
“I think Abu Dhabi is the perfect place to end the season, especially with a race under the lights. The whole venue is impressive and the track is quite a challenge from a set-up point of view. You need a car that works through the fast corners in the first sector, as well as through the slow final sector, which feels more like a twisty street circuit.
“I think we have the potential for a big result in Abu Dhabi. Things didn’t work out for me in Brazil so I’m determined to get back in the points this weekend and finish this great season on a positive note.”
 
Nico on Abu Dhabi
Nico Hülkenberg hopes to end the season with another strong performance in Abu Dhabi.
 
Nico: “The final race of the season is always important because you want to finish the season well and carry the momentum into the winter months. We have already secured fifth in the championship but I want to make sure I end the season in the top ten of the drivers’ championship so there is still a lot to play for.
“Abu Dhabi is a fun place for the season finale: the venue is great and the twilight racing helps create a special atmosphere. As a track, it’s not easy to get a good lap as the layout is very technical, especially in the final sector. It’s quite easy to come into a corner too hot and make a mistake, and finding a good flow is a big challenge.
“Brazil was a very enjoyable weekend for me: the car felt great and we maximised every session to come away with a well-deserved result. I think we can realistically aim for a similar performance this weekend. It’s been a great year for everyone in the team and we deserve to finish on a high.”

Formula One: Alfonso joins Sahara Force India

Alfonso Celis
Sahara Force India have announced the signing of Mexican racer, Alfonso Celis, as a development driver. The 19-year-old will get his first experience of Formula One power behind the wheel of the VJM08 at the season-ending Abu Dhabi test – sharing driving duties with Nico Hulkenberg.
Alfonso is one of the most promising young Mexicans emerging from the junior formulas. Following karting success in Mexico, he moved to Europe in 2013 to compete in the Formula Renault NEC championship, and progressed to the GP3 Series last year. This year he raced for ART in GP3 in parallel to a World Series by Renault programme with AVF.
In his development role with Sahara Force India, Alfonso will spend time on the simulator at the team’s Silverstone factory. He will also take part in seven official practice sessions at Grand Prix events during the 2016 season.
Alfonso Celis: “Ever since I started racing I’ve been dreaming of Formula One, so it’s a huge honour to begin working with Sahara Force India. It’s an amazing opportunity for me to learn about Formula One and to work closely with the engineers and race drivers. Being on the track in Abu Dhabi will be an incredible feeling. It’s going to be the biggest moment in my career and I am fully focussed on doing a good job for the team.”
Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director: “I would like to welcome Alfonso to the team and wish him well ahead of his debut with us in Abu Dhabi. As our development driver we will work hard to prepare him for the demands of driving in Formula One and provide a good grounding in all aspects of the job. It’s a fantastic opportunity for Alfonso to learn from Sergio and Nico, and to get valuable mileage in the car.”

Formula One: Opinion – One too many?

SFI1

As  Formula One prepares for the Brazilian Grand Prix a story that won’t go away is that of the Sahara Force India F1 Team rebranding as the Aston Martin Racing F1 Team with extensive, possibly title sponsorship, from Johnnie Walker in 2016.

To the dreamy eyed motorsport fan, myself included, the prospect of seeing the Aston Martin name in Formula One is fantastic. That being said the performance objectives Aston Martin may have for the partnership will have to be kept in check. The Silverstone based team have achieved great things on a limited budget for a number of years, but realistically making further steps up the grid will not happen overnight, even if the team were to receive sizable capital investment any plan for the Aston Martin brand to win in Formula One would have to form part of a longer term commitment. Will the Aston Martin marketers be satisfied with an image of the plucky underdog?

Beyond a possible team rebrand, the suggested commercial deals also raise a number of questions. The Force India team was originally intended to act as a platform for Vijay Mallya to promote, in addition to his airline, United Breweries and United Spirits (UBUS) through the brands Kingfisher, Whyte and Mackay, and Royal Challenge. Following the economic challenges Vijay Mallya and his companies have faced in recent years, ownership of the UBUS companies has exchanged hands. Initially Diageo (parent company of Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff) bought a sizable shareholding in the UBUS business. This change in ownership was reflected in the Force India livery with the addition of Smirnoff branding on the car. However, earlier this year as part of a consolidation strategy Diageo sold its shares in the UBUS business to Heineken. With Diageo’s Smirnoff remaining on the car alongside Kingfisher and Royal Challenge, this in effect means that the Force India team carries branding for two of the world’s largest alcohol companies. A situation that is unlikely to continue into the 2016 season irrespective of any Aston Martin rebrand.

SFI2

Further mudding the water, or wine, is the recently extended agreement Force India have with the Mexican wine producer Cavell’s. Whilst it can be argued that wine, spirits, and beer are not direct competitors they ultimately target the same consumers. Since signing Sergio Perez Force India have devoted their marketing efforts to developing a substantial Mexican sponsorship portfolio, significantly beyond partnerships brokered through the Slim family (Telmex) This strategic focus on Mexico again leads me to question the likelihood of an Aston Martin rebrand with Johnnie Walker. The team won’t look to terminate commercial sponsorships, but do all these deals meet with the branding demands Aston Martin may place on the team?

One possible theory around the Johnnie Walker rumours could in fact be team ownership. Vijay Mallya’s financial troubles have been long and well reported, it is possible he agreed to offer a silent shareholding in the team to Diageo when they first bought into the UBUS business? Diageo shareholding in the team would explain any desire to consolidate existing F1 partnerships into a single team and bring Aston Martin to the party as a premium brand to support a premium product in Johnnie Walker.

Vijay Mallya’s comments over the Mexican GP weekend that the Force India name has served its purpose and perhaps the time is right to change is sound, with the now Heineken owned Kingfisher and Royal Challenge likely to fall off livery in 2016 and Roy Sahara’s difficulties not reaching any conclusion in the near future beyond Vijay Mallya himself there is very little Indian influence left in the team.

One thing is for sure the Silverstone based team will look different in 2016, will they “Keep Walking” with Johnnie Walker and Aston Martin? Time will tell, but as ever with these stories there is much to this than a paint job and a few stickers.

Formula One: Sochi Stats & Round Up

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What a difference a year makes! Formula One returned to Russia this weekend and for most fans it was fair to say expectations of a great race were pretty low. Thankfully the second running of the Sochi GP proved to be a huge improvement, with excitement through to the final lap.

Congratulations to Lewis on his win, to Mercedes in clinching their 2nd successive constructors crown, and a huge congratulations to Sergio Perez and the Force India team for a well deserved podium. Gambling on an early pit stop during the send safety car period Sergio kept his calm despite huge almost overwhelming pressure to claim his second podium for the team

Congratulations also to Pirelli on the extension of their sole supply agreement to F1 through to 2019. Further details to follow in due course. In the meantime enjoy this inspired Ushanka (pictured) look Pirelli bought to the podium and these fantastic info-graphics!

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