Force India to become Sahara Force India after buy-in

2011 F1 season

Sahara Force India logo

Sahara Force India logo

The Force India team will be renamed Sahara Force India Formula One following a buy-in from the Sahara Group.

Mallya will remain as team principal of the Silverstone-based outfit.

He has sold a 42.5% stake in his team to Subrata Roy’s Sahara Group. Mallya’s United Breweries Group retains 42.5%, with a further 15% held by Michiel Mol.

Force India said the deal will bring around $100m (??63.38m) of investment into the team.

Mallya said: “I am delighted to welcome Saharasri Subrata Roy Sahara as Chairman of Sahara Force India.

“It has indeed been a matter of pride for me to put India on the F1 map with Force India and raise the performance of the team to its current levels. The Sahara Group has played a very important role in the development of sport in the country and is an ideal partner to take the Force India F1 Team to greater success in the Formula 1 world championship.”

Subrata Roy said: “The advent of India in this exciting sport has remained a matter of pride for all our countrymen. I feel doubly proud that Sahara is the co-owner of India?s only F1 team and I am sure that through the Sahara Force India F1 Team, we will together bring pride and laurels to our beloved nation.”

Last week he strongly denied rumours the team was up for sale, saying: “As team principal, I will continue to run the team and I have no plans whatsoever to exit.”

The Sahara Group’s businesses include includes television channels, real estate companies, film distribution, tourism services and a cricket team.

Mallya took over the former Spyker team at the end of 2007, re-branding it Force India. The team rose to seventh in the constructors’ championship last year and currently hold sixth place.

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120 comments on Force India to become Sahara Force India after buy-in

  1. Samraat Dash said on 12th October 2011, 18:13

    In spite of Force India being run by British technical people and driven by a Brit and a German, Sahara Group’s Chairman is already giving statements saying they will teach the Western World how good India is in F1. No, I’m not a Westerner. I’m a 100% Indian man. It’s a shame that ownership of an F1 team now virtually belongs to not only a dubious business house that’s also infamous for its many shady financial dealings with the public. Mr. Mallya, if you wanted money (to buy another ‘largest’ yacht to anchor in the Monaco harbour?), you should have sold the Force India stake to the Tata Group – the Indian business house famous for its humanity.

    • Dev (@dev) said on 12th October 2011, 18:20

      do you think tata wanted it? sahara group must have arm twisted mallya into this… they have the blessing of people who matter.

    • On contrary said on 12th October 2011, 18:39

      Tata group have been around for more than century now and have good business acumen, they have made smarter investment in F1 through sponsoring career of “Best Indian Driver” whom the public can identify, not to mention strategic alignment with Ferrari both on technology side and their tie-up to provide service support to Ferrari in India.

      Sahara, Mallya are the breed of the neo-rich people who have made their fortune by hobnobbing with those in power. These kind of people will come and go.

      And keep in mind Mallya went around only to find a shady backer rather than mainstream business houses in manufacturing, automotive, financial, FMCG or service sector.

      And anyways if you have seen most of the investment coming into F1 is from questionable sources. So Tata group have kept their involvement in F1 in line with their ethos (word that is not exactly popular in F1)

  2. Kirill (@) said on 12th October 2011, 18:19

    Can they rename the team without overall agreement? I mean other teams.
    Or this is something different from the case with Team Lotus, LRGP & HRT?

    • KaIIe (@kaiie) said on 12th October 2011, 18:31

      I think since it’s just a “sponsorship” name change, it will be allowed to happen. Much like if McLaren were to lose the Vodafone sponsorship, they would most likely be allowed to drop that part of their official name. And of course Ferrari just recently dropped the Marlboro bit from theirs.

      But that’ll be the nth name change in a few years: Jordan, Midland, Spyker, Force India, Sahara Force India.

    • PJ (@pjtierney) said on 12th October 2011, 18:36

      It’s the chassis that both Lotii are trying to rename. This year’s LRGP is still a Renault R31.

  3. Raveendhana (@raveendhana) said on 12th October 2011, 18:28

    in a positive side with more money coming in, we can expect FI to develop into a team like redbull or atleast they can move up the ladder in the F1 championship.

  4. Raveendhana (@raveendhana) said on 12th October 2011, 18:32

    We have to wait and see what kind of influence does sahara have over FI in future.

    • icemangrins (@icemangrins) said on 12th October 2011, 21:46

      we can expect FI to develop into a team like redbull

      @Raveendhana Wishfull thinking and the answer is NO.
      When Vijay Mallya acquired & announced the launch of his Force India team, he charted a good roadmap to bring the technically challenged Spyker F1 to its original state (Jordan F1); tied up with Airbus industries to leverage their CFD knowledge; gave opportunities to potential talents; tasted success briefly in 2009; still chasing for 5th position in 2011 championship. But, to take the team to a different dimension or capability – Yes, they need a brand new leadership and a new vision…. Just the money from Sahara is not sufficient.

      We have to wait and see what kind of influence does sahara have over FI in future.

      It was already covered in this article…. they are going to pump in $100m. Unfortunately the “influence” will stay just monetary and Sahara’s vested interest in this investment may stay only as “commercial” IMO. We will hate to see this team & the sport is made a mockery something like Indian Premier League… it plainly takes away the jist of what Formula 1 is.

  5. JPedroCQF1 (@joao-pedro-cq) said on 12th October 2011, 18:58

    The logo is rubbish and the name is rubbish, but I hope the team keeps the pace they have now.

  6. Cyclops_PL (@cyclops_pl) said on 12th October 2011, 19:14

    Liar, liar…

  7. Girts (@girts) said on 12th October 2011, 19:24

    Say what you want about Mallya but he has managed to turn the complete underdogs that were Spyker into a serious midfield team that has been able to attract three very decent drivers and is currently fighting for 5th place in the teams’ championship. In my opinion, VJM should be praised for that.

    It might be that VJM will step out of the team comtpletely over the coming months / years. In any case, the new management will have to work hard to ensure that the current competitiveness of the team is maintained as it will be extremely hard to raise it. Hopefully the current driver policy won’t change as hiring an Indian driver just because he’s Indian would certainly be a step back.

    • Forceindy said on 12th October 2011, 19:51

      Totally agree with Grits!!! mallya should be praised that he saved this great team and put them back where they should belong! just look at williams sadly they are moving backwards…
      force india needed to extra cash to move them to the next level!

      As a fan of this team since the jordan days and an brit indian. I really hope we dont put an indian driver in until they prove to be a great driver!! at the moment chandock is nowhere near to the current line up and we should keep Sutil and Di resta in the team!!!

      i really dont want Sutil to leave he has been loyal and brillant!!

  8. BBT (@bbt) said on 12th October 2011, 20:09

    Saw that coming a mile off.

    BBT said on October 7, 2011
    Sounds like a sale in the AIR to me.
    Maybe not a majority stake.
    Really like what the team has achieved and the fact they give some potentially great drivers a chance.
    Will we see Di Resta and Hulk in Vijays team next session?
    That’s two questions one, the drivers and the owner

    Is it good or bad, the driver line up and the form in the first three races will tell use.

  9. BBT (@bbt) said on 12th October 2011, 20:10

    *tell us in 2012

  10. BBT (@bbt) said on 12th October 2011, 20:14

    “As team principal, I will continue to run the team and I have no plans whatsoever to exit.”

    100% accurate, people must be a bit naive to not realise what that means, no lies.

    • Thanks to people like you, we can still believe there’s some sense left in people!

      I can’t believe so many just jumped off the bridge with those ridiculous views of a so-called veteran journalist who denies to publish comments that question his view!

      • On contrary said on 12th October 2011, 21:11

        That veteran is still in denial about Spygate 2007 saga and that certain British driver has lost his edge due to loss of focus.

        While I agree with JS that LH has oodles of talent, but all the preaching he gave to Massa are applicable to LH as well.

        But then denial is the first step to transformation, so there is hope :)

        • I won’t hold my breath for it! I couldn’t care less what he thinks or says any more.
          Here’s the thing though – he’s known to hate Mallya for some reason! And also says stuff like “I have no idea where your comment went, maybe it was in a disrespectful tone..” Well, I run a blog myself and know how commenting and moderating work.

          • sumedh said on 13th October 2011, 9:16

            Here’s the thing though – he’s known to hate Mallya for some reason!

            The veteran journo is known to like Liuzzi a lot. He made a hue and cry over Liuzzi’s dismissal from Force India last year too. His hatred for VJM stems from that.

          • On Contrary said on 13th October 2011, 11:28

            @Sumedh, Rits – Given the his egotistic ways, the way he backs up vendor payments.

            Kind of unwanted vitriol he has spewed against his own compatriot drivers (who are doing best of the limited opportunities they have got, and all for no fault of their own) I am not fan of the liquor baron.

            Given the promise NK had shown in the Midland team, while Carlin was still at helm, I firmly believe if VJM had been graceful and worked with NK grow with his F1 venture NK would have delivered same results that Sutil-Fisico delivered.
            Even Sutil-Fisico-Liuzzi didn’t outshine the FI car capabilities. and only good results that team got right upto 2010 were flukes.

            So VJM is not completely a picture of piety himself.

            But refuting the press claims while the deal was not formal is VJM’s choice and saward was not fair in this instant….

  11. I wonder if this means they’ll want Sutil’s sponsors less and opt for the Hulk…

  12. Richard said on 12th October 2011, 21:36

    Hmm what were those words again…

    “I was shocked to read a media report that I am selling the Force India Formula 1 team… This is completely untrue and without any basis whatsoever”

    I know there is probably hundreds of legal reasons he can’t say anything but can’t they just say “no comment” instead of telling a blatent lie.

    & the logo is rubish.

    • Thecollaroyboys (@thecollaroyboys) said on 13th October 2011, 1:36

      In Yes, Minister if you gave your full backing to someone it was the kiss of death. It’s the same in day to day politics, the more a politician professes a standpoint the more likely they are to do exactly the opposite.

  13. robinrhysjones (@robinrhysjones) said on 12th October 2011, 22:38

    Is it not Michiel Mol?

  14. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 12th October 2011, 23:02

    It’s just a huge investment in my eyes, which allows him to both keep the team going in his name and carry less financial weight. A nice sum of money to add to the kitty as well. Now just to sort out a logo!

  15. verstappen (@verstappen) said on 12th October 2011, 23:24

    How is there money coming in, I would like to know. I mean, there Has been à sale of shares, so those shareholders get money, not Force India, I would say…
    I have to do some Googling, but I think Mol got some serious profit here!

    • According to reports (official afaik), Sahara is investing $100 million in the team. What part of that money went into buying the shares (or if that’s completely apart from buying the shares) is not clear, but, a good amount went into the team funding, which is all I care about.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 13th October 2011, 7:05

        @verstappen according to Wikipedia

        On 9 September 2006, it was revealed that the team was sold to Spyker Cars, a Dutch manufacturer of hand-built cars.[3] Spyker paid $106.6 million for the team

        was for the Midland F1 team, (here’s another source saying it was 68 m immediately and 2 installments of 15 and 23m made in the next 2 years ). Michiel Mol was then into the team management. Spyker sold to Mol and Mallya in october 2007 (after the initial payment +first installment) for 88 million EUR.
        In that case Mol would have brought in 44 Million EUR. This deal now values FI at about €190m (or $253m) If Mol sold his shares (from 50% down to 15%) it should have given him €66.5 or about a 50% ROI and revaluing the worth of the 15% stock he kept

        @rits I must say I am curious in how the deal works to bring money into the team though. Its the same as with the Williams sale, if someone buys into the team that means the money is going to the partner who sells. So the team does not really get better for it.

        Only way the team got investment from this is a deal where they issued 10% new stock, watering down Mallya’s stock from 50% to 42.5% (instead of selling those 7.5%). Mol would first sell about 32,4 % in the bussines to Sahara, before new shares are issued. Sahara would then buy the new shares to get to a total shareholding that is equal to Mallya’s. In that way albout $24m would be invested into the team, Mol would get about $76m (€ 56m or 20% ROI).

        What I am thinking after reading

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