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Big cash boost for Force India

2012-11-22 07:29

NO LONGER FEELING THE FORCE: Nico Hulkenberg in action for Force India at the 2012 US F1 GP. His Brazilian F1 performance will be his last for Force India before moving to Sauber in 2013.

Alan Baldwin

SAO PAULO, Brazil - Force India will have a financial boost worth the equivalent of R713-million to help it move up the Formula 1 grid thanks to the team's strong performance in 2012, co-owner Vijay Mallya has announced.

He said ahead of Sunday's season-ending 2012 Brazilian F1 GP: "We had a board meeting in India after the Abu Dhabi GP and approved the capital investment programme for the team. We are going to invest heavily in new technology and give more tools to our design team to try to move further up the grid."

'TOOLS OF JORDAN ERA'


Indian booze and aviation tycoon Mallya is principal of the Britain-based team that he co-owns with computer group Sahara which has a 42.5% stake.

Force India is seventh overall on 99 points and almost certain to stay there unless the team or Williams has an astonishing result on Sunday. It was sixth in 2011, but with 69 points, and its current tally is the most the team has managed since Mallya bought the struggling Spyker (previously Jordan) team in 2007.

"Every year we've gone up the ladder," said Mallya, "and we've taken fairly significant steps. Given the tools that we have, mostly of the Jordan era, we have done exceptionally well."

Sahara invested $100-million in Force India when it bought into the team in October 2011 and Mallya has said the money would be paid in three tranches over three years with the final instalment due in 2013.

No details were given on Wednesday about the time frame for the latest investment.

HULKENBERG'S OUT


Mallya and Sahara have attracted negative headlines recently with the former's Kingfisher airline grounded while the Sahara Group was ordered in August to refund the equivalent of about R41-billion to investors after India's Supreme Court ruled finance schemes run by two of its companies were illegal.

Mallya, one of India's richest men, also agreed a R18.8-billion deal in November, 2012 to sell a majority stake in his United Spirits.

Sunday's race at Interlagos will be German Nico Hulkenberg's last with the team before he moves to Swiss-based Sauber. He scored 53 of the team's points so far in 2012, took pole against all odds for Williams on his previous outing in Brazil in 2010, and Mallya praised his contribution to Force India.

"Nico has been one of the stars this season. He's delivered exactly what we expected of him and brought a lot to this team. He has a big future in F1 and we wish him well."

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