Force India has announced a partnership with Smirnoff which will see the vodka manufacturer appear on the sidepods of the VJM07 at certain races.
The team changed its livery to run with blank sidepods at the Bahrain test and then carried Sahara branding on a black background at the Chinese Grand Prix. Now Force India has announced that Smirnoff's logo will appear on the car all season – with the sidepods used on occasion – after signing what it describes as a 'fan-centric alliance [which] will be focussed on helping lovers of the sport get closer to drivers, nearer to top quality race action and further away from exclusivity.'
Team principal Vijay Mallya said he believes the partnership will help Force India reach a new market of fans.
“It's fantastic to see Smirnoff join the world of Formula One,” Mallya said. “It's an iconic, global brand and we welcome them to the Sahara Force India family. As a team we've always mixed the highest professionalism on the track with great celebrations away from it and our partnership with Smirnoff reinforces these values. As we continue to make progress on the track, Smirnoff is the ideal brand to help celebrate these moments and open up the sport to new fans.”
Matt Bruhn, Smirnoff Global Brand Director, said the way Force India was challenging the larger teams had caught the eye.
“We love Sahara Force India's story, as well as its ability to help us communicate about responsibility and top quality performance,” Bruhn said. “This team is shaking up how we perceive racing and giving the establishment a real run for its money. We are thrilled to help them bring fans closer to the action and have lots of fun with this energetic, exciting team along the way.”