Formula One: Force India rule out name change this year, likely to do it at the end of season

Force India will not be changing their name this season despite having a new one in mind, the Formula One team said at the opening Australian Grand Prix.

Chief operating office Otmar Szafnauer said they had run out of time.

Force India's car sporting the new pink livery in the British Grand Prix in 2017. Reuters

Force India's car sporting the new pink livery in the British Grand Prix in 2017. Reuters

“It’s not going to happen this year,” he told the website. “To change chassis name, from what I understand, you can’t do it in the middle of the season...

“We went around to find the best name, we had some discussion with partners, sponsors and employees. Then we went to the (governing) FIA and FOM and they said ‘well, you’re a bit out of time’.”

Szafnauer had told reporters during testing in Barcelona last month that a name change could happen before Sunday’s race in Melbourne.

The Silverstone-based team, who have finished fourth overall for the last two years, have said they are considering dropping ‘India’ from their name to make themselves more attractive to potential sponsors.

The team is co-owned by tycoon Vijay Mallya and Sahara Group founder Subrata Roy, who have both had well-documented legal problems.

Mallya, who is also team principal, is fighting a request to extradite him from Britain to face fraud charges in India related to the collapse of his Kingfisher Airlines.

Roy’s embattled Sahara conglomerate has been involved in its own long-running dispute after being ordered to repay billions of dollars to investors in bonds that were ruled to have been mis-sold.

“It’s not every day you change your name,” said Szafnauer, whose team have Mexican Sergio Perez and Frenchman Esteban Ocon as drivers.

“The process wasn’t well defined and still isn’t well defined. Now that we know it, we’ll do it at the end of the season.”

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Updated Date: Mar 23, 2018 19:59:48 IST

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