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Mallya: Drivers will be confirmed in 'next few days'

Following on from news that Force India was 'closing' on its driver line-up for the coming year, Dr Vijay Mallya has now said an announcement will be made in the 'next few days'.
Force India boss Dr Vijay Mallya has said the Silverstone-based outfit should be in a position to confirm its driver line-up for F1 2011 in the 'next few days', once a few legal 'loose ends' are sorted.

His comments echo those made last week on Twitter, when he revealed he was 'excited' about the teams proposed driver line-up for 2011 and that they were 'currently closing' on it [see separate story – click here]. It is presently thought that Adrian Sutil will be retained for the coming season, while Paul di Resta is tipped to be promoted at the expense of Vitantonio Liuzzi, who it should be noted has a contract until the end of the year. Williams reject Nico Hulkenberg is expected to be signed as the team's third driver.

"There are some legal loose ends to be tied up," he told the BBC, adding all should be revealed in the "new few days".

Meanwhile, speaking in the same report, Mallya rejected suggestions the Force India F1 team - and his Indian Premier League cricket team, the Royal Challengers Bangalore, were just expensive 'hobbies' for him.

"It is certainly not a hobby," confirmed Mallya, who is also chairman of Kingfisher Airlines and the United Breweries Group. "F1 and cricket are part and parcel of our business tools for promotion, and are sports in which, not only I am interested, but in which India is hugely interested.

"You can't say that [sport team ownership] takes the focus away from the businesses that produce the cash."

He also insisted that he is happy with the progress his F1 team has made since he acquired it from Spyker a few years back.

"F1 is perhaps the most technically competitive sport in the world. You are no longer fighting for half a second, you are fighting for one-hundredth of a second," he continued.

"It has become a lot more competitive so it is very, very difficult to move up the ladder quickly. I am proud of the Force India F1 team though. From the end of 2007, when I bought the team, to today it has come a long way," Mallya summed-up.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Friday Practice 1, Karun Chandhok (IND), Hispania Racing F1 Team (HRT), F110 and Vijay Mallya (IND), Chairman and Managine Director Force India
Saturday Practice, Vijay Mallya (IND), Chairman and Managine Director Force India
Sunday, Vijay Mallya (IND), Chairman and Managine Director Force India and Christian Horner (GBR), Red Bull Racing, Sporting Director
Sunday, Vijay Mallya (IND), Chairman and Managine Director Force India and Christian Horner (GBR), Red Bull Racing, Sporting Director
Race, Vijay Mallya (IND), Chairman and Managine Director Force India and Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of Formula One Management

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JJJ - Unregistered

January 19, 2011 5:06 PM

To be fair to FI, they have given Vit a fair chance. First he was drafted in to replace Fisi as FI's reserve driver and then they gave him an entire year to prove himself while many pundits called for his replacement midseason (which would have been a douchy thing to do but not uncommon in F1). Vitantonio just hasn't delivered enough, for whatever reason, and hasn't really delivered before at STR and RBR either. Rarely any sign of exceptional pace and to many irratic mistakes to be the steady 2nd driver. This is F1, Paul di Resta is younger and fast(er), Vit needs to make sure he's paid and then move on.

Taz - Unregistered

January 19, 2011 5:12 PM

@Jose Get a grip. Liuzzi has had two bites at the cheery and not done much in F1 apart from the odd eye catching drive. Paul De-rista will be quicker and he's a merc man so it's not a bad idea all round for FI to promote him.

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