The Sahara Force India Formula One team is in discussions with Aston Martin for a deal, which will see it being rebranded as Aston Martin Racing for 2016. The deal will see their cars become blue and gold as part of a sponsor tie-up with Johnnie Walker, the whisky brand, which is taking its £15 million a year away from McLaren at the end of the season.
Mallya added that the tripartite discussions also involved Diageo, whose iconic Johnnie Walker brand may be associated with the new team.
Vijay Mallya, Force India’s flamboyant owner, has admitted to staging talks with another party over the re-branding of his team. “That sort of premium-ness element forms the package”.
The team have struggled financially and this month sought a $10 million advance on their 2016 championship payments, the same amount they were granted before the start of this season.
If the deal goes through, Aston Martin will be returning to F1 for the first time since 1960.
Mercedes-Benz is a shareholder in Aston Martin. However, the name “Force India” and its two Indian owners are the only Indian connect to the F1 team.
Earlier this year there were talks that they were on the verge of a comeback and in talks with Red Bull with the team set to run Mercedes engines, but nothing came of it and it later emerged they had discussions with Force India and Williams as well. “There is excitement on both sides”, Mallya said at the Mexican Grand Prix.
Although there are still some talks to be held and papers to be signed, there is a strong possibility that the Aston Martin brand will make its way onto either next year’s or 2017’s Formula 1 grid. I have a job to do in terms of getting us back into the conversation amongst people that cross-shop sportscars, be it McLaren, be it Ferrari or Porsche. “I need to be in that conversation”, he said then.