F1’S STRUGGLING TEAMS: Force India co-owner, Vijay Mallya, says his team will continue to be on the F1 grid and not join Marussia and Caterham in administration. Image: AP/ Andre Penner
SAO PAULO, Brazil - Force India co-owner Vijay Mallya has rejected speculation about his Formula 1 team's finances and said the team would be racing for years to come.
Speaking at the 2014 Brazilian F1 GP, where only nine teams competed on Sunday (Nov 9), Mallya said Force India would not be following Marussia and Caterham on to the sporting scrapheap.
Mallya said: "All this speculation, I think, needs to stop. It's not doing anybody any good... the bottom line is we're OK."
Mallya said the team's 2015 car was almost ready. Asked whether Force India would definitely race in 2015 and beyond, he replied: "Of course. Absolutely."
Since the 2014 Russian GP (Oct 12). Marussia have folded and Caterham has gone under administration.
Force India, Lotus and Sauber, whose finances have also caused concern, want a more equal distribution of the sport's revenues but their request for a 'base payment' appeared to have fallen on deaf ears in Brazil.
Bernie Ecclestone told reporters on that teams shared R10-billion in revenue and ruled out extra payments.
However, Mallya said Ecclestone had told him he was meeting Donald Mackenzie, co-chairman of F1 rights holders CVC, to discuss the matter on Tuesday (Nov 11).
Ecclestone said: "If I don't hear by the end of the week I'll send him a gentle reminder."
Force India is co-owned by Mallya and the Sahara Group run by Subrata Roy, one of India's best known tycoons, who is in a Delhi jail because the conglomerate has not refunded billions of dollars raised in outlawed bonds.
Mallya said: "Sahara is by no means financially weak or bankrupt. It has a huge amount of financial resources. It is just that they have been asked to refund money to investors and there's a dispute there."
Mallya also has troubles of his own, with United Bank of India in September declaring him and his grounded carrier Kingfisher Airlines "wilful defaulters", although a court has halted execution of the decision.
Debt-laden Kingfisher has not flown for two years for want of cash.
A report in Sunday Telegraph said Force India had reported a net annual loss the equivalent of R687-million through 2013. The team is sixth in the 2014 Constructors' championship.