When Force India was formed in 2007, the old Spykar team got a lease of life from the flamboyant Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya.
And it was perfectly executed. An Indian name with Indian colors with Kingfisher name all around.
Since then, the team has surpassed all expectations but the airline has not.
The famous 5 star airline is broke and so are its owners (plural refers to V.Mallya and the various group companies, multiple banks who are as grumpy as a mad wife)
The current affairs are somewhat in these number : Vijay Mallya owns 42.5% ; Sahara India Pariwar 42.5% and the Mol family (the original owners) 15%.
With this setup, it is pretty evident that the Mol family cannot take the team ahead by themselves.
F1 is a bonkers expensive sport and only the ones with really deep pockets or deep love can manage to survive for long (The likes of Toyota, Honda, BMW quit the sport for lack of either)
Kingfisher Airlines angle : Vijay Mallya airline is neck deep in debt, trouble and PR disaster. It looks unlikely that the airline will survive the next quarter.
This leaves a big dent in other UB Group companies (which VM heads) as they are liable for the exorbitant debt stuck with the airline.
When (If) all goes bust, VM’s lifestyle hobbies (which includes Force India) will take a back seat and be so for a long time.
Although with the Sahara deal, Force India does have some money (VM promised to reinvest every penny back), but the knowledge and desire with the sport is missing in Sahara Camp.
The Sahara angle : They have money but not the F1 connect. Without VM, their relevance dilutes.
Now for all the things to work, VM’s personal interests will play a big role.
Force India looks optimistic for 2012 and if the team has to climb the stairs in constructor rankings, it will need smart F1 decisions and a lot of money.
And VM can only afford his hobbies if his (and the bankers) airline survives.
Theoretical Solution : The Airline somehow survives the next few months and gets taken over by a big foreign airline. VM gets rid of the debt worries and starts enjoying the perks of being a billionaire. This leads to a big PR initiative and Good Times for Force India!
If Theoretical Solutions fails, Force India certainly drops out of top 6 teams.