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If you think about it, Sahara Force India doesn’t really represent who this team is these days. Besides being hunted by the nation of India for debt issues related to his other business efforts, team owner Vijay Malya says that changing the name could be a real possibility.

“There is a growing feeling that maybe since we are a much-improved team in terms of performance and attracting more international sponsors, and sadly less Indian sponsors, there is a debate as to why the name should not be changed to give it a more international flavour,” Mallya said.

“There are some people who believe the current name Force India is restrictive psychologically.

“I’m considering along with the other shareholders what steps to take but it’s a major decision and one that is not going to be taken in a hurry without due consideration.

“More importantly, we have to look at the way the F1 scenario is unfolding under Liberty ownership.

“If they follow the NFL model, then of course the name becomes even more important because it’s a franchise model where the focus is on the name.

“But the current pattern may continue.

“These are all issues I’ll consider with the other shareholders before arriving at any final conclusion.”

This may all seem logical, I mean why not name the team something more befitting its current mission, performance and sponsorship engagements right? Let’s be honest, I was surprised back in 2008 when the team started with an eye on engaging Indian businesses and potential drivers but that never panned out. Well, it did but Sahara didn’t pan out with the owner in bigger trouble than Malya.

Perhaps Malya F1 would work but I suspect that much of the talk about a name change has more to do with a serious sponsor/partial owner than anything else. Hey, if Vijay’s right and Liberty Media is all about mirroring the NFL, then selling your team’s name is a bit like selling the name of your stadium to the biggest bidder right? It’s a bit like Vodafone Mercedes McLaren back in the day or Martini Williams F1 today.

I think it would be a good idea but I know the FIA have strict rules on name changes for participants and that it can’t just be done midseason. Any name change may have to wait until next year and who knows, there might even be a price for changing the name with Formula One Management or the FIA.

Hat Tip: Autosport

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry focusing on technology integration, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • Salvu Borg

    “Force India could change name”.
    From Jordan-to-Midland-to-Spyker-to- Force India, that could be a record in formula one, if it is a record for the number of name changing, will that record be increased to four time by another name change to ECCLESTON F1 this time?.

    • MIE

      Not even close to a record. Two of the current teams have more name changes:
      Tyrrell – BAR – Honda – Brawn – Mercedes;
      Toleman – Benetton – Renault – Lotus – Renault.

      • Salvu Borg

        Thanks for the information which is correct. Force India is not there yet but certainly getting close, if they will still be on the grid next year that is.

  • Gaetano Colosi

    Couldn’t have anything to do with Indian companies not willing to align themselves with a perceived criminal? Instead of clearing his name, VJ is hiding and it would be poison for any Indian enterprise to give him sponsorship.
    At the same time, many international organisations would not want “India” as part of their marketing.
    “Aston Martin” would be great!
    “Alfa Romeo” would be even better (for me personally) but I doubt that can happen.

  • jakobusvdl

    ‘Highest Bidder F1’ has a nice ring to it

  • The Captain

    Did I just hear you announce the Rename Force India FBC contest????

  • Hanwi

    How about “Where in the World is Vijay Malya F1?”

    • jakobusvdl

      Or Force(d back to) India :-)