New Spyker team owner Vijay Mallya has admitted that his previous relationship with Ralf Schumacher won't guarantee the German a drive with his team for the 2008 Formula 1 season.

Schumacher announced prior to the Chinese Grand Prix that he would leave Toyota at the end of the current season, with rumours linking him to Spyker to possibly continue his F1 career - with new owner Mallya having been a sponsor of the Toyota team in the past.

However, the new team owner admitted that any decision regarding drivers for the team's first full season under his ownership would be made with the best interests of the team in mind - with the focus very much on making progress.

"I know Ralf well from my role as a sponsor of the Toyota team and I personally hold him in high regard," he told the official F1 website Formula1.com. "But a driver line-up is not something that should be decided by the heart but by the brain. I want drivers that can raise the standards in the team.

"I always get asked if we will have an Indian driver and my response is - if I can find one who is ready, yes. But only under the parameters just said. Drivers are a crucial part of the team so the driver line-up is a serious matter and not a sympathy contest."

Mallya added that he plans to take a very hands-on approach to his new role along with partner Michiel Mol and is 100 per cent committed to making a success of his venture.

"Together with the Mol family I established a new joint-venture company called Orange India," he said. "The company will have five directors and I will appoint three and the Mol family two. I will be the CEO of that new outfit and will have the operational control. You can be sure that my contribution is very much hands on!

"There has been little invested in R&D, so I want to change that. I want to increase the resources in engineering. This team has a great pedigree - so why shouldn't it be possible to restore the past glory.

"I am aware that buying was the easiest part. It's like adopting a child. When you have finally concluded the legal procedures you feel happy, but then the big work comes with the upbringing. I am one hundred percent committed to playing my part."

 

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