Smirnoff added to Force India livery 2 May, 2014 Force India has added a major new sponsor to the sidepods of its 2014 Formula 1 cars. Last month, the Silverstone based team denied that they were set to split with its title sponsor and co-owner Sahara, after the company’s chief Subrata Roy was jailed for failing to pay refunds to investors. At the same time, the sidepods of the VJM07 were changed from orange to black, and the ‘Sahara’ branding was initially removed before returning in China. Now, Force India has revealed it will replace the Sahara branding on the sidepods with the word ‘Smirnoff’, confirming a new sponsorship deal with the well-known vodka label. A team statement said that Smirnoff logos will also appear on the rear wing and top of the chassis. Interestingly, Smirnoff is owned by the British alcohol multinational Diageo, who are bidding for full control of Force India owner Vijay Mallya’s spirits company United Spirits. Diageo already owns 29 per cent of Mallya’s company. The Hindustan Times newspaper explained that Diageo has recently been upping its presence in “emerging markets” like India, while Mallya is “burdened with huge debts” at his grounded airline Kingfisher. (GMM) Subbed by AJN. Press Release: Smirnoff – the world’s leading premium vodka – is on a mission to bring down the velvet rope around racing via its new partnership with Sahara Force India Formula One Team. The partnership provides a high-profile, truly global, platform for Smirnoff within one of the world’s most iconic sports enjoyed by millions of fans around the world. It brings together two brands with a shared ethos to open up access to one of the world’s most elite sports for everyone. The fan-centric alliance will be focussed on helping lovers of the sport get closer to drivers, nearer to top quality race action and further away from exclusivity. Responsible drinking will lie at the heart of the partnership. Smirnoff will use its position as an official partner of the Sahara Force India Formula One Team to deliver a powerful anti-drink drive message. Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director of Sahara Force India, said: “It’s fantastic to see Smirnoff join the world of Formula One. It’s an iconic, global brand and we welcome them to the Sahara Force India family. As a team we’ve always mixed the highest professionalism on the track with great celebrations away from it and our partnership with Smirnoff reinforces these values. As we continue to make progress on the track, Smirnoff is the ideal brand to help celebrate these moments and open up the sport to new fans.” Matt Bruhn, Smirnoff Global Brand Director, added: “We love Sahara Force India’s story, as well as its ability to help us communicate about responsibility and top quality performance. This team is shaking up how we perceive racing and giving the establishment a real run for its money. We are thrilled to help them bring fans closer to the action and have lots of fun with this energetic, exciting team along the way.” The partnership will see Smirnoff branding featured on the VJM07s of Sahara Force India drivers from next weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona. Logos will appear on the rear wing and top of the chassis, with branding on the sidepods at key races. Drivers’ suits, helmets and team clothing will also carry the famous Smirnoff eyebrow logo. Reports on GrandPrix247.com by: staff & contributors, Reuters syndication, GMM service, Formula 1 teams, sponsors & organisations.