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