Whitmarsh Rules Out Force India Takeover

McLaren CEO Martin Whitmarsh insisted that his team will not play an active role in developing a racing programme for Force India following the latest agreement between the two teams concerning power plant supply. The teams will not follow the example of Honda and Super Aguri last year, when the Japanese manufacturer conditioned their engine supply for Aguri's team on securing a racing seat for Takuma Sato.

“We'll sit down and talk about every aspect of the programme, and that extends beyond the process development and the power train. We've got to work together on all those things. We will make proposals and recommendations that we think are enhancing the prospect of good performance. Vijay is an enormously successful entrepreneur in his own right in many fields, and if he turned all of those attentions to Formula One he would be an awesome competitor for all of us.

“At the end of the day, we've got to be respectful that Force India are a team in their own right. They are a partner, but although there will be a range of strident suggestions and recommendations, this team have to decide. It's in his hands. This isn't a takeover by McLaren. This is an independent team that we happen to be partnering, and I hope that we can bring business benefit to this organization,” revealed Whitmarsh after officially announcing the partnership between McLaren and Mallya's team.

The Indian billionaire also insisted that he will take under consideration all advices coming from McLaren officials, including driver-related. However, setting up a highly-performing car for 2009 seems to be the main goal for Force India for the time being, as the Indian outfit has already revealed their drivers' lineup for the upcoming season.

“They will recommend what will be in the best interests of my team and I will be hard pressed to ignore their advice. First we have to build a car. If we don't have a car then there's no point having a driver! The whole idea is first to get a car now. It's already pushing the envelope a little bit, so we need to focus on the car. The driver comes next. A driver is just one element,” added Mallya.

Mallya's aim for 2010/11 seems to be, apart from winning a race and finishing the inaugural Indian GP on the podium, securing a racing seat for an Indian driver. With Narain Karthikeyan having been already ruled out by Mallya earlier this year, the highest chances of a future F1 seat for an Indian driver go to GP2 driver – and race winner in the series – Karun Chandhok.
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