Force India F1 team considering name change

Force India owner Vijay Mallya is considering changing the name of his Formula One team to give it a more "international flavour".

Force India is in its 10th season in F1 since it took over the former Jordan team, which had also been known as Midland and Spyker in the intervening years. Despite being viewed as an Indian team in its time on the grid it has failed to secure many sponsors from Mallya's native country, though it has built a reputation for over-achieving on a limited budget and currently sits fourth in the constructors' championship.

Mallya does not think the team needs to keep the reference to India in its name.

"There is a growing feeling that maybe since we are a much-improved team in terms of performance and attracting more international sponsors, and sadly less Indian sponsors, there is a debate as to why the name should not be changed to give it a more international flavour," Mallya told Motorsport-Total. "There are some people who believe the current name Force India is restrictive psychologically.

"I'm considering along with the other shareholders what steps to take but it's a major decision and one that is not going to be taken in a hurry without due consideration. More importantly, we have to look at the way the F1 scenario is unfolding under Liberty ownership. If they follow the NFL model, then of course the name becomes even more important because it's a franchise model where the focus is on the name."

The proposed name change comes with Mallya facing an uncertain legal situation, with Indian authorities recently issuing an extradition warrant in relation to accusations of fraud. Mallya is reportedly being chased by authorities for over a billion dollars he owes to banks from his failed Kingfisher Airlines company.

Mallya insists the possible name change is down to business interests only.

"The fact the country of India and me are not the best partners is something that has been going on for a few years now. This is nothing new. I haven't in the last few years considered any name change.

"It's purely to do with current sponsorship, a proposal on the table and sponsorship going forward for the team."

Ahead of the 2017 season, Force India adopted an all-pink livery as part of a tie-up with technology specialist BWT. Last year it was in talks to re-brand as Aston Martin, only for the luxury car company to pull out due to uncertainty over this year's regulation change.