Mallya hopes to bring F1 to India in 2009

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> After acquiring the Spyker Formula One team, business tycoon Vijay Mallya said he was not averse to the idea of having an Indian driver.

Updated: September 03, 2007 06:45 IST
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After acquiring the Spyker Formula One team, business tycoon Vijay Mallya promised the new name of the F1 side would carry the word 'India' and said he was not averse to the idea of having an Indian driver.

Addressing a press conference in Mumbai this evening, Mallya revealed it would be a 50-50 joint venture between him and Micheil Mol, a Director of Spyker Formula One, of The Netherlands.

Revealing that the team would soon be rechristened, Mallya said, "Naming would take some time but I'll try my best to have India somewhere in the name. Everything will be done after consultation with the team management."

On the prospect of having an Indian driver, probably Narain Karthikeyan, the business tycoon said, "We would love to have an Indian driver but it would depend on other issues. We have to arrive at a consensus for that."

Mallya and Mol made a 90 million euro bid for the struggling F1 team and said "This offer has been accepted by the Board of Spyker Cars N V and exclusivity has been granted to the consortium Orange India Holdings Sarl to proceed with due diligence ... to achieve completion within 30 days."

Dutch manufacturer of hand-built vehicles, Spyker Cars NV, owned the Spyker Formula One team, which it inherited from Midland for $106.6 million last year only to plunge in financial crisis.

Mallya, a Member of the Parliament, is also the chairman of both the Federation of Motorsports Clubs in India (FMSCI) and Motorsport Association of India (MAI).

Mallya's Kingfisher brand adorns Toyota cars and the flamboyant industrialist, also called the 'King of Good Times', recently said in an interview that having an Indian company involved in Formula One would help India get to host a Grand Prix.

He sounded modest about the new team's prospect next season and said, "I don't expect the team to do something spectacular in 2008, the aim would be just to collect championship points."

Mallya said he would be the Chairman and Managing Director of the Orange Indian Holdings and can co-opt four people in the Board of Directors, while the Mole family can have three.

Mol, in a statement, expressed his satisfaction with the deal and said he was looking forward to this "competitive Indo-Dutch combination."

"I have been an investor with Spyker and fully supported the acquisition from Midland. I'm very happy to partner Vijay Mallya in the exciting new venture," Mol said.

Mallya also said that he was looking forward to see F1 in India.

"Now that we have acquired an F1 team, I would love to see F1 coming to India sooner than later, maybe 2009 or by 2010.

"I would like to help Indian Olympic Association and (IOA President) Suresh Kalmadi in every possible way to see F1 in India at the earliest."

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