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Force India F1 team says it is strong enough to pay its bills

Force India says it is strong enough financially to pay its bills and keep to its 2016 Formula 1 development schedule, despite speculation about its funding

The team has retained Sahara branding on its car despite co-owner Roy Sahara's continuing imprisonment in an Indian jail for financial irregularities.

Fellow co-owner and team principal Vijay Mallya is also embroiled in fiscal issues of his own in his home country, yet remains fully committed to Force India.

Chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer told Autosport: "We're a Formula 1 team, you always want more money.

"But we will definitely be funded to a level where we can pay our bills, and do the development programmes we have planned, and really that's what it's about.

"We recently signed a long-term deal with Smirnoff, which will help, and the FOM [Formula One Management] monies will underpin the finances of this team.

"All the other sponsors we are either expanding, adding to, or re-signing them, and that will only help."

This season is further complicated by the fact a major rules revamp is scheduled for 2017 that will result in the cars altering considerably, draining resources throughout '16.

"We have to carefully plan so that we don't underachieve this year to overachieve next year," added Szafnauer.

"If we stop too early then maybe we will cut short our potential in 2016, at the benefit of 2017, or vice versa.

"If we stick with developing 2016 too long then it will be at the expense of how we start 2017, so we have to find that balance.

"With us it's more important than with some of the bigger teams that can run experiments in parallel because they have the resources."

While still difficult for Force India, Szafnauer concedes the situation "could have been much worse" given how teams operated in the past.

"In the old days when you had an unlimited amount of windtunnel testing, and you had two windtunnels running, you could have used one tunnel for '16, the other for '17 experiments," he said.

"If that was the case now then we would have been much worse off.

"At least now the windtunnel time, as well as CFD capacity, is limited, so even the big teams have to make some trade-off decisions.

"But that will still not be quite as many as we will have to do."

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