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Mallya: Exciting driver pairing reflects Force India F1 attitude

Vijay Mallya says that he is excited by his 2014 F1 driver pairing, claiming that it is in keeping with the hunger that exists within the Silverstone-based squad.
Force India team owner Vijay Mallya insists that signing an all-new driver line-up for 2014 is indicative of the squad's determination to continue punching above its weight in the F1 world championship.

While admitting that he would have been happy to retain either Paul di Resta and/or Adrian Sutil next season, Mallya admits that he could not afford to pass up two drivers of the class of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg, with the pair coming in at the start of a new set of technical regulations.

“I could have retained either one of our existing drivers, but … I consulted my other team members and they all said that we've got a new car and a new set of regulations, so let's get a new set of drivers who have got fire in their bellies and are really hungry,” the Indian explained, “Sergio and Nico fit that bill. I'm very excited.”

Although there were times when neither driver appeared to be free to switch teams for 2014, Mallya says that he was determined to land both as soon as they became available.

“My thought process was very simple. When Sergio drove for Sauber he certainly caught my eye. He was very quick and I guess that was noticed by McLaren. I wasn't very surprised - they are a world-class team, a very big team and, if they signed up Sergio Perez, they obviously saw something in him. I had also seen this but, well before I could even approach him, he had gone to McLaren. Which driver in Formula One wouldn't want to go to McLaren?

“I've always had my eye on Nico Hulkenberg. I told him as early as Malaysia 'Nico, if you decide to change from Sauber, you better come back home'. He said 'alright, I promise you. If I decide to change, my first option will be with you'. He stuck to his word - he told me he wanted to move and I said fine. I'm sure Nico talked to other teams but, at the end of the day, true to his word, I signed him up. I feel happy because he's driving for me.”

The signings also buck the trend among midfield and back-of-the-grid teams of driver signings based on sponsorship and finances.

“I don't believe in the pay driver concept,” Mallya insisted, “I've had many opportunities in the past where I was offered pay drivers - I was offered a lot of money - and I said absolutely not. That's not the philosophy of Sahara Force India.

“I will not compromise the quality of drivers for money. I will not let down all of my people in Silverstone who are so passionate about designing and building a competitive race car and then compromise the car on the track by taking a driver who is not the very best, simply because he brings money to the table. That's something I just will not do - it's against my basic philosophy.”





Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Dr Vijay Mallya and Nico Hulkenberg
Sergio Perez and Vijay Mallya [Pic credit: Force India]
24.11.2013 - Race, Adrian Sutil (GER), Sahara Force India F1 Team VJM06 and his mechanics
04.07.2013- Press conference, Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sauber F1 Team C32 and Sergio Perez (MEX) McLaren MP4-28
24.03.2013- Race, Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sauber F1 Team C32 overtaking Sergio Perez (MEX) McLaren MP4-28
06.04.2014- Race, Vijay Mallya (IND) Sahara Force India F1 Team Owner
06.04.2014- Vijay Mallya (IND) Sahara Force India F1 Team Owner
15.03.2014- Qualifying, Vijay Mallya (IND), Chairman and Managine Director Force India
14.03.2014- Free Practice 1, Vijay Mallya (IND), Chairman and Managine Director Force India
14.03.2014- Free Practice 1, Vijay Mallya (IND), Chairman and Managine Director Force India
Dr. Vijay Mallya (IND) Sahara Force India F1 Team Owner.
02.03.2014. Formula One Testing, Bahrain Test Two, Day Four, Sakhir, Bahrain.
Dr. Vijay Mallya (IND) Sahara Force India F1 Team Owner.
02.03.2014. Formula One Testing, Bahrain Test Two, Day Four, Sakhir, Bahrain.
Dr Vijay Mallya and Nico Hulkenberg
Dr Vijay Mallya and Nico Hulkenberg
17.11.2013- Race, Martin Whitmarsh (GBR), Chief Executive Officer Mclaren and Vijay Mallya (IND), Chairman and Managine Director Force India
16.11.2013- Vijay Mallya (IND), Chairman and Managine Director Force India
25.10.2013- Free Practice 2: Vijay Mallya (IND) Sahara Force India F1 Team Owner
25.10.2013- Press Conference: Vijay Mallya (IND) Sahara Force India F1 Team Owner

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Firestorm

December 19, 2013 6:40 PM

I admire VM for his good job at Force India. Remember what team he inherited. At the last two years Jordan was going down and down. Midland and Spyker didn't improved on that and sold the team after one year spell each. VM gave the Silverstone based outfit some stability and the results kept improving. Who knows where FI would finish this season if Pirelli would have kept the same tyres as at the start of the season. I think that 5th place was within their grasp.

pizzaboy

December 21, 2013 1:55 PM

One would say they will be a few ticks closer to Lotus with black and gold team struggling with Finances but that argument does not necessarily mean anything. To start with Lotus had comparatively better funding to start with and perhaps they put in lot of juice in 2014 development and hence trapped themselves in fiasco near end of season. Also Mercedes & Ferrari are likely to sort out and get grips with new setup much quickly, so less opportunities of mid-field leaders. And am sure likely improved Willams in the mix will present an added challenge to SFI and Sauber as for last couple of years they appeared on the scene. But hey! greatness does not come without difficulties!



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