Force India rolls out India’s first F1 car
Its not about winning or losing
Its about Glory and Pride
Sometimes you do things only because you believe in them
Believe with me, I want to compete with the Best in the World
I want the World to know that India has arrived
I want the world to feel the force of a billion dreams
Join the FORCE !!!
This is what Mr Vijay Mallya believes and this is what Bollywood’s badshah Sharukh khan conveys to the world through Force India’s TV commercial. Calling it a “red letter day in the history of Indian motorsport”, Force India owner and liquor baron Vijay Mallya proudly unveiled Force India’s 2008 challenger which is named VJM01in Mumbai. The glitzy launch event at the backdrop of Gateway of India witnessed India’s first formula one car being rolles out in gold, tungsten and white with a red stripe. “Today is a memorable day not only for me as the owner of India’s first-ever F1 team, but also for millions of Indians who can today watch India occupy a place of pride as Force India becomes the first and only Indian Formula 1 racing team to compete with the best in the world, at the pinnacle of motorsport” Mallya said. The ‘global launch’ of the VJM01 was apparently attended by several eminent personalities, political leaders and a bevy of celebrities and corporate head honchos along with the leadership team of Force India and of course its drivers, Giancarlo Fisichella, Adrian Sutil and ‘third’ driver, Vitantonio Liuzzi.
Mallya who sponsored the Benetton team back in 1995, Toyota in 2007 has been actively involved in building a F1 circuit. He got the success last year when Indian Olympic association and FIA signed a MOU to host F1 race in India by 2010. In the mean time Narain Karthikeyan won India’s maiden victory in A1 GP and Karun Chandok won GP2. But what if world’s fastest growing nation doesn’t have its own team. Vijay Mallya established a joint-venture company with the Mol family from the Netherlands. Called Orange India Holdings (OIH), the enterprise finalised negotiations to purchase the Spyker Formula One Team from Spyker Cars N.V. in October 2007. Interestingly this is the same team which pulled out Narain for not bringing in enough dollars. Force India roped in Fisichella, Sutil and Luzzi for driving their 2008 challenger. To know the more about Force India and its drivers visit http://www.vicky.in/straightfrmtheheart/force-india-f1-fact-file/
Force India’s VJM01:
The Ferrari-powered VJM01 has the same basic chassis as used by Spyker last year but has aerodynamic changes. Force India’s VJM01 will make its track debut at the next Barcelona test from February 25-27 and the car will mechanical updates till the first race begins. Force India will start with the 2008 Formula one challenge at the Australian Grand Prix on 16th march. Mike Gascoyne, chief technical director of Force India Formula One says “this car is mechanically very sound, a good basis. Aerodynamically it obviously needs improvement. We have made tremendous improvements since testing last winter”.
Unlike the other sports F1 is very expensive (Toyota spends around Rs2000 crore every year for its F1 team) even Mallya may find it hard to survive. Only by 2010 Force India eyes podium finish but taming the Ferrari and Renault in not going to be easier even by that time. Force India recently made its main aerodynamic facility, a 50% scale wind tunnel in UK. Also for the first time Mallya is going to run behind the sponsors atleast initially. Mallya himself accepts the fact “In terms of getting sponsors, this is the first time that I find myself in this position. Generally, it is the other way around. However, I know what a sponsor looks for in terms of value and we will be able to deliver it,” Mallya said. Force India. Also for the cricket crazy nation the smell of the high octane petrol and racy sound may find strange and hard to accept. In India F1 has only 3.2million visitors which is very minuscule when compared to cricket. Mallya and his team has to market aggressively to create buzz for Formula one among Indian audience. With IPL and ICL lining up more matches other sports including the F1 will find it get sponsors. Mallya himself bought the Bangalore team for the BCCI’s upcoming Indian Premier League. So far ICICI Bank, Kanyan Capital, the Medion Group, Reliance Industries, Magnet Marelli and Dalmore have come on board to sponsor the Force India. But the amount of money these sponsors has not yet revealed. Finally but most importantly, Formula One is considered as a contest for the manufacturers to show their proweness injecting patriotism might be hard. The midas man says “There are 500 million people in India under the age of 25, many of them benefiting from our country’s economic boom. They want to mark themselves out from the crowd, to buy a pair of Hugo Boss jeans rather than a domestic brand. We are all clamouring for glamour in one form or another, whether we admit it or not. And Formula One is the high point of glamour in sport, something that can ignite the passion and pride of this country.” I’m not going to bet against the man who knows, we might see an Indian team possibly the Force India powered by Tata’s engine may race past the Ferrari to win the championship by 2015. Cheers for Force India!