Vijay Mallya said on Sunday to The Mail that he plans to make decision on team’s drivers before Christmas with announcement coming in January. He made it clear that it is him to decide:
“I will decide who we will sign.”
Then he dropped the hint:
“I need to balance talent with experience, and I need to find out how the engineers feel on driver feedback. I’ll decide before Christmas – but there won’t be an announcement until the new year.”
He also made it clear he expects efficiency instead of money wasting:
“The team will have $100m a year to work with. The bottom line is that money cannot buy performance. Equally, there’s only so much research and development you can do in one year.”
And on December 20 the team can expect lavish Christmas party. He knows how to throw them, he has proven it in Monaco this year with his Kingfisher party.
“Some people may call how I live flamboyant, others may call it extravagant. But my brands are built on a lifestyle platform,so it is consistent that entertainment is part of that. It will be a good party where I want the people to feel respected and motivated.”
Although Vijay Mallya is the final decision maker he will likely listen to advice from Mike Gascoyne who used the Jerez test to evaluate drivers. And comparing what these had to say it looks like they share similar opinions:
“We need an experienced driver line-up; whether that’s testing or racing. I don’t think they (R. Schumacher and Fisichella) were here to be benevolent to us. They want to be involved in the team. But pounding around in winter testing isn’t glamorous, so we were looking for someone who’s got the desire and commitment. The younger guys will get in the car for free and drive to their limit. But can they compete at the same level? When you’ve won races, like Ralf and Fisi have done, you’ve proved your ability. There could be a trade-off between youthful exuberance and experience. Vijay will make the final decision, but you don’t become a successful businessman by not listening to the experts you have employed.”
I would say it may not be all over for Fisichella and looks like they haven’t slammed the door on Ralf neither…
And finally Vijay Mallya made it clear what he expects and what is he after a short term:
“My wish list is a one liner — at the 2010 Indian Grand Prix I want to see Force India on the podium.”
I do not really like their logo, I am not yet in peace with the name they have chosen, but I am starting to like this team, their attitude and the no nonsense approach of the new team owner and principal.