Mallya slates teams wanting to win 'at any cost'
29 May 2013
Force India team owner Vijay Mallya has criticised certain F1 rivals who, in his opinion, have put selfish interests before the long-term viability of the sport as a whole.
Speaking in the wake of a double points finish in Monaco that helped cement his squad as 'best of the rest' in the championship standings, Mallya insisted that F1 needed teams of all sizes, and slammed the actions of a few that jeopardises the future of smaller rivals.
His concern is raised by the introduction of new engines and powertrains for 2014, forcing teams to spend a lot more than they currently do for the existing V8 units, despite a drive to cut costs in the top flight. Without the support of the Concorde Agreement, an extension of which remains unsigned, and the unity previously shown by teams under the FOTA umbrella, the technical changes were forced through, but Mallya is also worried by the blasé attitude taken by some of the frontrunners.
“On one hand, the FIA and FOTA - when it existed in full strength - had resolved that we need to reduce the costs of F1 but, rather than reducing costs, one or two teams have decided winning at any cost is more important than the sustainability of the sport, so there is no resource restriction that is implemented, quite contrary to the fact that costs are going up,” he explained to the official F1 website.
“Whether it is the commercial rights holder, the FIA, or the teams themselves, I think it is very necessary that all the important stakeholders sit across the table and find a viable solution. If you only want three or four teams in F1, each running three cars, you should proceed in the way it is now. But I think F1 also needs the smaller independent teams as well, so everybody must also look at the common interests and not only their individual interests.”
While each team will be faced with the prospect of having to work with a new-generation turbocharged V6 engine and the assorted energy regenerating systems that are also incorporated in the revised regulations, Mallya is optimistic that Force India's relationship with Mercedes – allied to it strong 2013 form – will allow it to hit the ground running next season.
“2014 will be a new challenge for everybody because it is a brand new engine,” the Indian confirmed, “We have a new partnership with Mercedes for the entire powertrain so, as much as it is challenging and, to a little degree, uncertain, we are quite confident that we will put together a good package.
“I think we have demonstrated to everybody - even to our worst critics - that we are capable of competing with the big boys and that we are capable of improving every year. And that is what matters.”
Asked what allowed Force India to continue moving forward from season to season, Mallya was quick to praise the workforce at its Silverstone base.
“We are fifth in the championship standings in terms of points, [but] we are a small team and we are very much punching above our weight,” he insisted, “This is the commitment and dedication that we have. It is a fact that, with every year, we get better. We review our performance and implement higher and higher standards - the team works towards that and we achieve it. We deliver on the objectives that we set ourselves.
“44 points from six races is the best start to the season in the history of the team. One can't ask for more. [However], we will keep up our development speed and we will keep on improving the car to get even more competitive. Hopefully, we will be lucky enough to have a few podiums - at least that's the plan for 2013. Next year with the new engine and our new Mercedes partnership we hopefully will run even higher.”