Sahara Force India will get a boost of 50 million pounds for an improved showing in the next season, said team principal Vijay Mallya who does not rule out the possibility of Adrian Sutil returning to his team in place of outgoing Nico Hulkenberg.
“We have shown that every year we get better, so we expect nothing less next season. But it is also time for us to look at capital investment (the board has recently approved a £ 50 million capital investment programme for the team). In order to go up the ladder even further we need to have the tools and the facilities, so we are looking at some investments which will start paying out rich dividends in the future,” Mr Mallya was quoted as saying by formula1.com.
Mr Mallya bought the team, formerly known as Spykar and Jordan in 2007, and entered into a partnership with Sahara Group, which now has a 42.5 per cent stake in the team.
Mr Mallya said they are in no hurry to find a suitable replacement for Hulkenberg, who is all set to join Sauber for the 2013 season, but have kept the doors open for Sutil.
“We are thinking about it, but we are in no immediate hurry because there does not seem to be the kind of quality we need to replace Nico available, either in the current grid or in GP2. We have to think a little bit beyond that, which we are doing now”, he said.
“We need a driver who is clearly talented, a driver who is clearly quick. I am looking at options such as even bringing Adrian Sutil back. Adrian was always a very quick driver — yes, he was out of Formula One for one year, but I don’t think that this would be a major handicap. So yes, I am looking and evaluating very carefully,” he added.
Saying that the team has every reason to feel proud at the performance in the ongoing season, Mr Mallya said, “Force India going to the final race of the 2012 here over the weekend, lying seventh in the team standings with 99 points. It is team’s best ever show in terms of points scored and includes fourth place finishes in Belgium and Singapore.”
“I would have liked to be ahead of Sauber, but the only disappointment as of today is that we are behind Sauber. Otherwise very clearly we are meeting our target objectives. I would say that I am satisfied with the progress that we are making. Of course I would have hoped that we would have been one step higher in the constructors’ standings, but otherwise I also have to realize that miracles cannot happen overnight,” he said.
Mallya said Formula One is now a well established brand in India with the successful hosting of the second Indian Grand Prix last month.
“In India, it is established all right, but I think it has not reached even one tenth of its potential. Formula One is established in India, yes, and it will grow exponentially from here.”