Hulkenberg denies Mallya crisis to sink Force India

Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Force India F1. Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday 18 March 2012.
Nico Hulkenberg in Melbourne

Nico Hulkenberg has played down the link between Vijay Mallya’s stricken Indian airline Kingfisher and the billionaire’s Formula 1 team Force India.

According to mainstream media reports, debt-ridden and loss-making Kingfisher is on the brink of collapse.

And new speculation swirling in the Melbourne paddock this weekend suggests the situation could affect Silverstone based Force India.

“The rumours are nothing new,” the team’s new race driver Nico Hulkenberg told Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper.

“The problems (with Kingfisher) have been there for over a year. But it’s nothing to do with us, it’s another business — this is formula one, not an airline,” said the German.

“I can’t judge what is happening to his business. I just know that he (Mallya) is still motivated and for sure will be here for many races,” added Hulkenberg, who qualified ninth for Sunday’s Australian grand prix.

India’s Economic Times this week reported that Mallya has pumped an extra $32 million into Force India via his personal investment company Watson and the sponsorship of Kingfisher’s beer and spirit arm.