Mallya denies that money scandals hurting Force India image

Subrata Roy Sahara with Vijay Mallya

Subrata Roy Sahara with Vijay Mallya

Vijay Mallya has distanced Force India from the bad publicity generated by the Silverstone based team’s co-owners and his own struggling airline, Kingfisher grounded and in massive debt.

“My airline is a corporation,” Mallya insisted on Wednesday. “I know of no company in the world in which the director or a shareholder is held responsible for the entire group.

“In addition to the airline I have many other companies, and my main business is the sale of alcoholic beverages. This is growing continuously and not at all affected by the problems of the airline,” he told Auto Motor und Sport.

Force India’s other main shareholder, meanwhile, is Indian businessman Subrata Roy, heading the title sponsor Sahara. At the present moment, Roy is in jail, reportedly after failing to pay back billions to investors.

“Sahara’s problems have nothing to do with Formula 1,” Mallya said. “Two of his companies have collected money from investors, which is being examined and challenged. But Sahara’s investment in our team is completely independent of that.”

Mallya also played down suggestions that the issues of debt, failure and jail are bad for Force India’s image.

“That is an academic question,” he insisted. “So far, not a single sponsor has run away. Our team is evaluated for its performance on the race track, and the benefits that derive from that.” (GMM)

Subbed by AJN.