Formula 1 2013 team guide: Force India
Vijay Mallya's takeover of the ailing former Jordan outfit has transformed them from backmakers to midfield maestros, but questions over finances still hang heavy over the Silverstone-based team
Constructors' titles: 0
Drivers' titles: 0
2012 Championship position: 7th
Team principal: Vijay Mallya
Technical director: Andrew Green
Force India took a backwards step for the first time since their formation in last year’s constructors’ championship, but they’ve come on leaps and bounds since Vijay Mallya completed his takeover of backmarkers Spyker in time for the 2008 season.
Mallya has brought relative stability to the former Jordan team, who had to go through three rebrands in as many years before the Indian business tycoon set in motion what would become a rapid development into a competitive midfield outfit.
It was at the 2009 Belgian Grand prix that Force India decisively announced themselves at F1’s top table, simultaneously earning their first championship points and podium finish when Giancarlo Fisichella steered his way to second place.
A seventh in the 2010 constructors’ championship was followed by a high of sixth in the 2011, and although podium finishes have eluded the team since their Fisichella swansong, consistency has been impressive, with 16 points finishes last year.
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Finances are still shaky, inextricably linked with the fortunes of Mallya and his Kingfisher empire. Despite that, Mallya announced last year he was ploughing an extra £50 million in order to renovate their comparatively antiquated Silverstone headquarters. He and over a billion Indians will hope the investment into the British-based team pays off.
The signs for 2013 are promising, with admirable preseason testing times, a potential future star in the form of Paul di Resta and a humbled Adrian Sutil, returning from an enforced layoff from the sport following his assault conviction.
Having said that, the midfield is more crowded than ever, with Sauber and Williams battling with them in midfield and Mercedes moving closer to the front runners.
It may be some way off the heights of the original Jordan team of the late 90s – when loud-shirted BBC pundit Eddie Jordan led his team to third in the constructors’ championships and won four grands prix – but Force India have managed to inject some of Jordan’s swagger back into the setup that lost its way so dramatically in the early part of the 21st century.
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Force India were the last team to name their drivers for the current season – Jules Bianchi held the seat during testing alongside Paul di Resta, but was unceremoniously ditched in favour of Sutil just before the start of the season.
Vijay Mallya, the “King of the Good Times”, owner of Kingfisher beer and Airlines, is not having such good times himself. His airline has estimated debts of $2.5 billion, and Force India team accounts reveal the tycoon suffered net losses of £126.1m in the four years since he took over the team.