Force India’s new sponsor? The real story.
There is a lot of rumour this morning regarding a potential new sponsor for Force India in Diego’s drinks brand – Smirnoff.
However there is a real back-story to this as Diego bought a large chunk of Mallya’s own Kingfisher drinks brand a few years ago to help Mallya’s financial troubles. As Mallya has not paid his debts to Diego they have now taken control of the whole business. So them adding their own Smirnoff brand to the cars instead of other ‘kingfisher’ branded products isn’t so much of a new sponsor, but a slight tweak to an existing contract in which the new owners of the brand are choosing which drink they choose to promote.
Add this to the ongoing saga with his crumbling airline business now owing millions and millions of dollars and the teams major shareholder Roy Sahara in prison in india as the Sahara business raised 240bn Rupees (£3bn) using illegal bonds which they have not paid back. This is the big issue and has still to be fully played out. Of course it looks like his prime asset is his stake in the F1 team, but it is small change comparatively to the amount he owes.
This also shows a loosening of grip that the Indian entrepreneur’s are having on their own businesses. How this bodes for the future of the team? We’ll have to wait and see.