Force India chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer confirmed to Sky Sports over the Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend that a rebrand was in the works in a bid to drop a national identity for the team. A change of name is thought to be in the pipeline for commercial reasons after the team has had little luck attracting sponsor in India over the past decade. He rued that not many India companies have come forward to sponsor Force India.
In 2016, the Silverstone-based team performed exceptionally well to finish fourth in the constructor’s championship. We had Indian sponsors at one point and now we have none.
The next step will be for Force India to apply to the FIA and for the change to be approved by the F1 Commission, which requires the backing of several teams.
Mallya feels the current name could limit the team’s ability to attract further sponsors, despite recently signing a multi-million pound deal with water giant BWT, which saw the two VJM10’s turn pink in colour.
Earlier in June, it was reported that the Vijay Mallya-headed outfit was contemplating dropping the reference to India from its name.
“For a name a chassis change we need approval from some of the rest”.
“The feeling is that with our improved performance, we are able to attract more global sponsors”, Mallya said.
“I think there’s a spirit of co-operation in that regard”.
Szafnauer said the change has to be the right one: “You don’t change your name every other year, so we’ve got to think about it deeply and philosophically, and make sure if we do it, it’s going to be there for a long time”.
The Indian Express reported, that idea behind bringing a change to the name of the team is to attract worldwide exposures. Force India is confident however, that it will not be problematic.