Mallya hopes to reveal engine supply 'soon'
|By Simon Strang and Michele Lostia||Wednesday, October 29th 2008, 11:27 GMT|
Force India owner Vijay Mallya says he hopes to be able to reveal the identity of team's engine supplier in 2009 soon, following advanced negotiations with McLaren and Mercedes over a technical partnership for next year, as revealed by autosport.com at the Japanese Grand Prix.
While the Indian billionaire admitted in his team's Brazilian Grand Prix preview that he was evaluating which engine package to go with, he stopped short of mentioning a potential supply of McLaren chassis.
"As many of the media has reported, we are currently looking into our package for next season and I hope I will be able to announce a deal very shortly," said Mallya.
"I will make sure that my team has the best solution for engine, drivetrain and KERS possible so we can get a good head start and try to get the points that have eluded us so far this season."
The use of customer chassis in Formula One beyond 2009 remains under review with the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) expected to meet with the FIA after Brazil to discuss it and various other cost-cutting measures.
Talks are also on-going with the team's current engine supplier Ferrari and Giancarlo Fisichella, whose contract was recently renewed by the team alongside teammate Adrian Sutil, admitted that he would prefer the team continued to use the Italian engines.
"One thing is for sure: if we've managed to get on in a dignified manner, that's because of the Ferrari engines," he said. "They are the best thing about our cars. Just like it's true that Ferrari and Mercedes are the best possible choices for 2009.
"There have been talks with the German manufacturer, I can confirm that, but I hope to carry on racing with an engine built in Maranello."
Mallya also admitted that Force India's failure to score points in their debut season has been a source of frustration to him, but added that he understood the reasons behind this.
"I have given the team all the resources they required and I expected significant improvement," he said. "As the statistics have shown, we have improved and are now much closer to the midfield, but our progress has rather flattened out since the mid-season.
"Relative to other teams, we haven't made as much progress as they have, but to be fair to the team after Hungary I made a conscious decision to put time and resources into 2009."