Prospective Spyker buyer Vijay Mallya has insisted that he will be in Formula One for a long time should his bid to acquire the team be successful.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with the official Formula One website f1.com, the Indian businessman revealed his long-term plans for the team, which included keeping it as a constructor, hiring an Indian driver and giving his homeland something to cheer.

Explaining that, should the deal be completed as expected later this month, it was time to move on from being involved in F1 merely as a sponsor - which he has been via his Kingfisher brand at Benetton and Toyota - and become a team owner, with the ailing Spyker operation the obvious candidate as a way in.

"Having participated on a sponsor level, obviously the next logical step was to buy into a team, and the time was right now," he explained, "India has changed in the last decade. India is almost a global economy with a very young population - almost 300 million people have good jobs, earn good money and are able to spend it on an international standard. That is my target market.

"The excitement [at news of a deal to buy Spyker] was so huge that there are people waiting in line now with their cheque book in their hand trying to partner with us - I have not heard of anything like that in any other part of the world. And when we announced that the Indian flag would be part of the team colours and logo, there was an explosion of excitement romping through the country."

Opting to buy Spyker as opposed to starting his own team in order to remain a constructor rather than become a customer in F1, Mallya also revealed his desire in having a countryman piloting one of his entries. While there are obvious candidates on the scene at the moment, however, he insisted that he would not be rushed into fulfilling that particular dream.

"We do have two Indian drivers, with [Narain] Karthikeyan and [Karun] Chandhok, but it is too early to say if one of them will be chosen, so I will not make any comments on that," he said, "[But] an Indian team with an Indian driver would be the ideal combination. In the future, I will look very carefully into our karting championship to identify talents that can be developed into potential candidates for the team."

Mallya expects the deal to be completed by the end of the month, but revealed that any involvement would be in partnership with current Spyker team boss Michiel Mol.

"I have a 50/50 partnership with the Mol family," he confirmed, "There will be five directors - I will appoint three and the Mol family two - and I personally will take over the duties of chairman and managing director. I don't know if we can keep the name Spyker, as Spyker is a car company, [but] one thing is for sure, I want to put the word India into the name of the team. I will invest all the time necessary to make the team a success."

 

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