Mallya's Force India aim to be a top three team | Reuters
By Alan Baldwin | SILVERSTONE, England SILVERSTONE, England Force India set their sights on breaking into Formula One's top three at the launch of their new car on Wednesday and hit back at suggestions that they lack the budget to match the manufacturers in a spending 'arms race'. 'If we did not dream big, we would not have finished fourth in the world championship last year,' said co-owner and principal Vijay Mallya, the embattled former billionaire whose extradition is sought by India. 'We will always dream big,' added the liquor tycoon who was charged in absentia last month by India's Central Bureau of Investigation with conspiracy and fraud over a loan to his defunct Kingfisher Airlines
By Alan Baldwin
| SILVERSTONE, England
SILVERSTONE, England Force India set their sights on breaking into Formula One's top three at the launch of their new car on Wednesday and hit back at suggestions that they lack the budget to match the manufacturers in a spending 'arms race'. "If we did not dream big, we would not have finished fourth in the world championship last year," said co-owner and principal Vijay Mallya, the embattled former billionaire whose extradition is sought by India. "We will always dream big," added the liquor tycoon who was charged in absentia last month by India's Central Bureau of Investigation with conspiracy and fraud over a loan to his defunct Kingfisher Airlines. He has dismissed the charges against him."We have never had conversations, even in private, that we cannot break into the top three. That is certainly going to be our objective. We are going to give it our best shot."Force India enjoyed their best ever season last year, finishing behind Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari.
Force India's annual budget is estimated at less than half that of the teams above them and also some of those below, such as McLaren.Renault Sport F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul told reporters at the launch of his team's car on Tuesday, when he set a target of fifth overall, that he doubted Force India had the resources to compete at the very top."I think this season will be an arms race, and I really feel for the teams who are under-resourced," the Frenchman had said. "I believe that most of the car build budget of a Force India will be gone by now, just to cope with the new regulations."
Mallya laughed at the suggestion during a stage presentation."Good luck to him. He might have to eat his words. It's not the amount of arms you have, it's the quality of your weaponry," said the Indian.
Mallya said the team planned to develop the new Mercedes-powered VJM10 throughout the season but would not a target for podium finishes or points he wanted Mexican Sergio Perez and French newcomer Esteban Ocon to achieve."I've always said 'under promise and over deliver'," said Mallya of his approach to Formula One. "And I'm going to stick to that philosophy."As much as people may say there is this huge barrier to breaking into the top three, I see no reason why we can't." (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Dominic Evans)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.