Q & A with Vijay Mallya

Q: Congratulations on your success in qualifying. It must feel great?

Q & A with Vijay Mallya

Vijay Mallya: Obviously I feel absolutely delighted.

Q: You must be very proud of what the team achieved?

VM: Of course I am. I am more than just proud I am utterly delighted.

Q: This is the result of hard work over recent weeks and a lot of investment. Does it feel extra special coming at the mother of all circuits?

VM: It is not so much the money that has gone in. We don't throw a lot of money away. We elected to enter the FIA world championship in 2010 as a cost-capped team, so fundamentally we don't believe we must throw a lot of money at it.

We like to focus our efforts and our development, which is what we have successfully done. We have said we would come with a good update for Valencia and we proved it with a strong double finish in 10th and 12th position.

The drivers were looking forward to Spa. They thought this particularly circuit would suit the aerodynamic and mechanical package of our car. The drivers obviously like the way the car is handling and behaving, and Fisichella drove an absolutely flawless qualifying and achieved pole position. It made us all very, very happy.

Q: Were you surprised?

VM: Of course I was, I wasn't expecting it. But pleasantly surprised.

Q: You've had many successes in business, and they call you the 'King of the Good Times'. How does this achievement rank?

VM: This is absolutely one of those moments. To be sitting there on the pit wall, watching one of your cars on pole position in an F1 grand prix is rather a rare pleasure isn't it.

Q: Do you think you have a chance to win the Belgian Grand Prix?

VM: Starting from pole position one must try to win the race, but equally one must take that we don't do anything stupid. We are here racing with the best in the world, so we also need to be right up there.

Q: Success has taken some time to achieve for Force India. Was there ever a point where you thought you would give up?

VM: At the end of the day I bought the team at the end of 2007. The first season in 2008 was really the old Spyker car, which we were racing. It was a B-chassis. This is the first year that we have designed and built the car ourselves, and clearly it has been competitive from the start of the season. I've always said that we are strong midfield contenders, and now to be on pole position is extra special.

Q: What has been the secret of the success of the team this season?

VM: It has been several small steps. It is not as if we were laggards at the start of the season. We were always pretty competitive. I think we have had five or six top ten finishes so far, so we have been a good midfield competitor. Now, of course, we have taken the next step forward.

Q: How much of a role has McLaren played in helping your move forward?

VM: McLaren has played a good role. We use their gearbox and hydraulics. We use the Mercedes-Benz engine - all of which has contributed to the performance of the car. So let's see how the race goes.

Q: Do you believe this result is important for the future of the team?

VM: I am not so sure I understand the question but I guess if you achieve pole position, you get that much more publicity, and you are that much more in the spotlight - whatever that means for the team and the sponsors. It is all about visibility.

But whether a pole position is going to necessarily improve the financial income or not, is debatable. But we don't look at it that way. I don't race necessarily to earn more money. If you are racing in F1, which is the peak of motor sport, then a good finish is a good finish and you feel good about it.

Q: What is the financial state of the team? There are lots of rumours that it is up for sale?

VM: I have never heard these rumours. Maybe you can tell me a little bit more.

Q: So you are 100 percent committed to staying on board?

VM: Yes, I always have been.

Q: Do you think Fisichella's pole position will make it hard for you to keep hold of him from the next race?

VM: This is all speculation once again. If I am approached by anybody, I will react and comment but until then I think it is unfair for me to say anything.

Q: What if Giancarlo gets a phone call from Ferrari? Will he be able to go?

VM: As I said to one of your colleagues, I have not heard anything from anyone. Nobody has ever asked me, and it is unfair for me to comment on any speculation.

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