Mallya hoping Ecclestone keeps word


Published: Tuesday 11th November 2014 by The News Editor

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Force India co-owner Vijay Mallya is expecting Bernie Ecclestone to honour his word and address the critical issue of finances with Formula One’s commercial rulers on Tuesday.

On Saturday in the paddock at Interlagos, two-and-a-half-hours of talks over the sport’s cost crisis reached stalemate.

It resulted in Ecclestone declaring the discussions as “a complete and utter waste of time”.

Mallya, however, claims the 84-year-old made clear he would at least speak with Donald Mackenzie, the co-founder and co-chairman of CVC Capital Partners, F1’s commercial rights holders.

Yet Ecclestone suggested ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday any discussions with Mackenzie would be on an unrelated topic.

That came as a surprise to Mallya when informed of Ecclestone’s remarks as he said: “I know only what he told me in the presence of four others.

“He said he’s going to meet Donald on Tuesday. Fine. If I don’t hear (from him) by the end of the week I’ll send him a gentle reminder.

“Only then will we know where we stand or don’t stand, but the problems are real. The problems should not be wished away.

“He made statements in Austin (ahead of the United States Grand Prix) where he acknowledged there is a problem. He also said he didn’t know how to fix it.

“In Sao Paulo he said he would discuss potential solutions with Donald. That’s the last meeting we had. We just wait to hear back.”

Following on from Marussia going out of business and with Caterham poised to follow suit, the remaining smaller teams in Force India, Sauber and Lotus are demanding cost cuts or a more equitable share of the sport’s revenues to ensure they can survive.

A report on Sunday suggested auditors had questioned Force India’s recently published accounts that showed a net loss of £38.5million up to the end of December last year.

Auditors Grant Thornton remarked there was “significant doubt about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern”.

Mallya, however, has made it clear his Silverstone-based marque will be on the grid in 2015 and beyond.

“Every business has current assets and current liabilities. That’s the way businesses run globally, big or small,” said Mallya.

“Do we have accounts payable? Sure we do. Is it anywhere near 45 million (euros)? Absolutely not, it’s not even half of that.

“The finances of Force India have been speculated upon for a long time.

“When our partners, the Sahara group, got into a spot of trouble, there was even more speculation, but here we are and racing strong.

“All this speculation I think needs to stop. It’s not doing anybody any good, neither is it doing the sport any good nor the teams any good.

“The bottom line is we’re okay. We are here and we are racing.”

Asked specifically whether the team will be racing next season and in the years after, Mallya added: “Of course. Absolutely.”

Published: Tuesday 11th November 2014 by The News Editor

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