12 Feb 2018
Force India Formula 1 team owner Vijay Mallya is proud of the team’s “best of the rest” tag after leading the midfield runners for each of the past two seasons, but feels the “gulf” to the three front-running teams will only be resolved by a redistribution of revenue in the sport.
Force India has risen from F1 backmarker to midfield leader during its decade in F1, finishing fourth in the constructors’ championship for each of the past two seasons behind big-budget rivals Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.
Boasting a comparatively lean financial muscle compared to many of the teams both ahead and behind in the standings, Force India has won the respect of the paddock with its recent achievements in F1, pleasing Mallya.
“At the moment there is a huge gulf that we need to close on the top three teams, but I’m still proud that we are ‘best of the rest’,” Mallya told First Post.
“We are racing against huge car manufacturers and we need to be realistic about what we can achieve with our own resources. So I’m satisfied and proud of the job we are doing, but hungry for even better results and podiums.
“The goal for the future is to maintain our position and start closing the gap to the teams ahead of us.”
A number of schemes to try and create closer competition in F1 have been put forward in recent years, but Mallya feels it is only with a redistribution of prize money that does not favour the already well-funded manufacturer teams that will solve the issue and give the likes of Force India a fighting chance at the front.
“It’s no secret we lack the financial might of Mercedes and Ferrari. These privileged manufacturer teams also benefit from beneficial prize money arrangements, which further widen the gulf to the independent teams,” Mallya said.
“It’s something that we’ve always believed has an impact on the health and competitiveness of the sport. A more equitable sharing of the prize fund would allow other teams, including Force India, to compete on a more equal footing.
“Until this is addressed, it’s unlikely we will see independent teams fighting for race wins every week.”