Q & A with Vijay Mallya

Conducted and provided by Force India's press office.

Q & A with Vijay Mallya

Q. How would you review the Silverstone weekend, now one week after its conclusion?

Vijay Mallya: "There are so many variables in F1, given the competitive nature of the sport, that sometimes you get one thing right and two things wrong. That's what makes it so exciting, but makes it equally frustrating.

"I can't help but think about the fact that Rubens Barrichello was a couple of tenths away from Adrian in qualifying for the British Grand Prix, and when Adrian was running, he was in 11th and Barrichello was 10th. As we know, Rubens finished on the podium after a great race, so maybe we could have done things better. So this race was really an opportunity missed. Hopefully we'll not make the same mistake again."

Q. Was it encouraging to see the improved pace of the cars in the dry?

VM: "At the start of the season in Melbourne we were right up there, and competing with Honda and Williams and Toro Rosso. We achieved a 12th place, an 11th place, a 10th place finish, and we were running fourth in Monaco.

"Then suddenly everything has gone a bit flat, and the gap increased, so clearly the others made more progress than we did. Then we introduced the Silverstone package, which has given us a catch up, so we are back to where we were. Now we have some more small modifications coming for Hockenheim, which we've tested this week.

"We're also the only team that doesn't have a seamless shift gearbox, and that's a couple of tenths anyway you look at it. When we have that, that is where we need to really push.

"That's all the significant modifications we have left for this year, because if I keep on hammering the team to produce better results this season, I'll compromise 2009, which is a huge opportunity. Trust me, I'm putting my heart, soul, money and a lot more into 2009, and I intend to be right there!"

Q. In Silverstone, as in other races, you had many VIP guests. Is this a mark of the team's increased presence, or a simple fact of being the home race and having more interest in this event?

VM: "India and England have such a close relationship, that London is almost a second home to Indians. So compared to any other race, for all our sponsors and VIP guests coming to England is something very special. We had so many of our friends and our guests there, and we loved having them. Obviously they were a little bit disappointed with the race, like I was! But coming to England is something special for us."

Q. Sachin Tendulkar was a guest of the team in Magny-Cours and Silverstone. What does it mean to have support from an Indian legend?

VM: "He's a fantastic guy, an outstanding cricketer, probably one of the finest that the world has ever seen or produced. He's a true Indian at heart, and loves to see the Indian flag."

Q. Cricket has always been the national sport now, has Formula One taken on the same status yet?

VM: "The way we look at it, India never qualified for the Olympic hockey, and in football we didn't qualify for the World Cup. Here we have an Indian team that's actually racing in the World Championship. That itself is an honour, to fly the Indian standard at one of the top flight levels of the sport."

Q. Is there an expectation from India though to be on top of the game as the Indian cricket team is?

VM: "Of course, we need to now show better and get better results, but it has only been six months since we took over, so what can you expect? Ferrari didn't win a World Championship for years until Michael Schumacher came along in 1996, and even then it took three or four years to win. So people can't expect miracles from me in one season, but I'm getting there, and I'm showing that I'm inching forward.

"The commitment is there, the determination is there. I'm a guy that enforces accountability everywhere, so I'll make sure we have the right answers, we don't make the same mistakes, and we capitalise on our opportunities. Our real focus is on 2009, and I'm absolutely determined that in 2009, we'll have some reason to be proud."

shares
comments
Germany preview quotes: Force India
Previous article

Germany preview quotes: Force India

Next article

Force India set to switch focus to 2009

Force India set to switch focus to 2009
Load comments
The long-term F1 vision causing Haas’s short-term pain Plus

The long-term F1 vision causing Haas’s short-term pain

From ranking as one of the most impressive new teams to join the Formula 1 grid, Haas’s stock has plummeted along with its on-track performances over the past two seasons. Everything now hangs on whether its reforged alliance with Ferrari can deliver a better car – and whether its rookie drivers can set aside their quarrels. OLEG KARPOV asks if any of these goals are achievable…

The line Verstappen finally crossed in F1's first Jeddah race Plus

The line Verstappen finally crossed in F1's first Jeddah race

OPINION: Max Verstappen has made the 2021 Formula 1 championship. He’s taken the fight to the all-conquering Mercedes squad and its dominant champion, produced driving displays few can match. But he’s been on a controversial course too, and finally crossed a particular line in Jeddah

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

An ill-tempered Saudi Grand Prix made Formula 1 more soap opera than sporting spectacle at times, but there were some strong performances up and down the field on the world championship's first visit to Jeddah

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2021
How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series Plus

How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series

The inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was a race packed full of incident as Formula 1 2021's title contenders repeatedly clashed on track. Lewis Hamilton won out over Max Verstappen to level the scores heading into next weekend's Abu Dhabi finale, as Jeddah turned F1 into a drama series

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2021
The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance Plus

The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance

Dropped by Red Bull last season, Alexander Albon has fought back into a Formula 1 seat with Williams. ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains what Albon has done to earn the place soon to be vacated by the highly rated George Russell

Formula 1
Dec 5, 2021
How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes Plus

How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton

Formula 1
Dec 3, 2021
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Plus

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Plus

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021