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F1 Mexican Grand Prix: Force India confirms ‘exciting’ Aston Martin talks

Force India team principal Vijay Mallya confirms talks are underway with Aston Martin and Johnnie Walker for a deal that could result in a team rebrand.
Force India team principal Vijay Mallya says 'exciting' talks are underway to potentially rebrand the team for the 2016 Formula 1 season as part of a deal with Aston Martin and Johnnie Walker.

News broke over the Mexican Grand Prix weekend that Force India could be considering a surprising change of direction next year having opened talks with the British sportscar manufacturer which could well see the iconic firm enter F1 in a branding capacity.

Though Mallya was coy about the discussions in Friday's FIA press conference, he would go on to tell Reuters that 'tri-partite' negotiations are underway with Aston Martin and Diageo, whose Johnnie Walker brand is set to switch from McLaren to Force India next year.

“Yes, there are discussions on with Aston Martin. Yes, there is excitement on both sides, but it still has to go through due process before we agree and shake hands on a concept, whatever that concept may be ... we have not exchanged anything in terms of an outline or draft contracts.

"This is a sort of tri-partite discussion that is going on which involves Diageo with its Johnnie Walker brand as well."

The deal could well see Force India be rebranded as Aston Martin and run a livery inspired by the famous blue and gold of Johnnie Walker.

The arrangement would also suit Force India's engine supplier Mercedes who holds a five per cent stake of Aston Martin and the German manufacturer is believed to be backing the move.

Aston Martin was rumoured to be considering a move into F1 earlier this season having reportedly approached Red Bull Racing in a deal that would have included a Mercedes engine deal, though this wouldn't venture beyond a discussion stage.

Diageo already sponsors Force India with its Smirnoff brand, but is set to step up its involvement for 2016 through this deal should it be finalise.

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