Force India sure of financial safety

Force India chief Vijay Mallya says he is relaxed about his Formula One team's financial security, even though the worldwide economic situation has changed dramatically since he first got involved

Force India sure of financial safety

With Mallya's businesses not escaping the impact of the financial turmoil caused by the credit crunch, the Indian has long campaigned for much-needed cost cuts in Formula One.

But he thinks his team's small size makes them better able to cope than manufacturers like Honda when it comes to reducing costs and facing the challenges that all outfits are experiencing at the moment.

"Clearly one has to be concerned about what is happening in the world today," he said in an interview with the BBC World Service. "Honda's withdrawal was not a shock to me as I could well imagine that on one hand with global sales and profits under pressure, the first thing that any independent board member would say is 'what are you doing with a Formula One team?'

"It's unfortunate but true that we have to cut our costs and live in the real world and balance both income and expenditure. From the sponsor side as well, people are cutting down budgets, so it's not going to be very easy to get anyone to write out large cheques for sponsorship either.

"Force India is in a good enough position, it's a smaller team with a much smaller budget than the big boys and so it is probably relatively easier for us to manage under these circumstances."

Mallya has admitted that results this year did not meet what he expected from his financial input, but he still believes the sport is providing good value for money.

"It's not that I write all the cheques to bridge the gap, my companies are sponsoring the team as well. We have an independent measurement of the exposure and the value of that exposure in relation to what we spend and I have to say that the results have been very encouraging, so even though we are not a front running team yet we have got value for money."

And with a raft of cost cuts having been introduced, and Mallya having clinched a technical partnership deal with McLaren-Mercedes, he is clear about his targets for next year.

"I certainly hope to be up to a midfield in 2009 given all that we are doing and I would be disappointed if we are not, so that is a major step forward to begin with," he said.

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