If talks continue to take shape the way Vijay Mallya is claiming, Force India will soon be without the ‘India’ in its name as the team looks to cater to a more global audience.

This news comes in the midst of Mallya fighting extradition from Britain to his native country on charges of money laundering and bank demands that show that he needs to pay back more than a billion dollars in loans to his now-defunct airline.

On his part, though, Mallya insisted that the change in name has nothing to do with his legal troubles. Rather, he claimed that the team has struggled to find Indian investors and thus, with this in mind, it made more sense to change their name to find better financial backing.

“I’ve been charged with a whole variety of things but let that be kept to one side and let the legal process take its own course,” Mallya said on Friday at the British Grand Prix.

“The potential removal of the word ‘India’ from the team name is nothing to do with the events surrounding me … we need to appeal to a more international audience.

“We need to cater to the needs of sponsors who have global businesses, and sponsoring Formula One isn’t exactly cheap.”

It has now been around a decade since Force India was formed.

“It was the first time an Indian team showed up on a Formula One grid,” Mallya said. “It met the aspirations of millions of young Indians who never thought that would be possible.”

With the Indian Grand Prix now a thing of history, Mallya claimed that it has become all the more difficult to find people willing to invest in his team.

“Since we have consistently now improved and are a serious contender on the grid, it’s time to broaden our horizons (to) attract more international sponsors and sadly there is no Indian Grand Prix anymore,” Mallya said.

“Indian sponsors seem to be passionate about putting all of their money into cricket, and so we must appeal to a more international audience, and so the idea of changing the name of the team was mooted. No decision has been taken but we have listed a few options.”

Although Force India has never won a race, it has been a consistent performer and is currently placed fourth out of 10 in the constructors’ championship this season.

“We have always had a limited budget compared to the big teams,” Mallya said. “If we get more sponsors we might spend a little bit more money, but I wouldn’t spent all of it. I would give some back to shareholders because I don’t believe that money can necessarily ensure that I’m going to be at the front of the grid.

“There may be people who spend a lot of money and who are able to therefore develop a car that is more easily at the front of the grid than we can, but if somebody turned up and gave me a hundred million more and asked me, ‘Well, can you beat Mercedes?’ I don’t think I’m going to say, ‘Yes, I will.’ It is how you spend your money that is more important.”

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