- Founded: 2008
- Based: Silverstone, England
- World Constructors' Titles: 0
- World Drivers' Titles: 0
- Grand Prix Victories: 0
- Pole Positions: 0
Vijay is a racing enthusiast who has raced cars himself, but is better known as the Richard Branson of Bangalore. He is one of a new breed of Indian billionaires, but amongst them, he is known for his flamboyance. He wears bracelets, earrings, sunglasses and dyes his hair and beard. He bought the Spyker team in the fall of 2007 in a deal also involving Michiel Mol, of the Netherlands. Vijay is behind an effort to bring a Grand Prix to India, and his buying of the team is part of that effort. Mallya is chairman of the UB Group of - which owns Kingfisher Beer - and the founder of Kingfisher Airlines.
Although Colin's first profession as a dentist usually attracts most of the attention in media and paddock talk, it is often overlooked that before he became a dentist he took part in rally racing as a teenager. It was only in 2000 that the Romanian decided to return to racing. He started up an F3 team, which would become a great success in Germany. He then founded another team, with Alex Shnaider, the Canadian/Russian businessman who would later buy Jordan and rename it Midland. He hired Colin to run the team, and Colin remained in charge when Spyker bought the team and then when the team became Force India.
A Brief History:
Force India was founded on the base of the team that from 1991 to 2005 ran as Jordan, and won four races. Bought by a company called Midland, it changed its name in 2006 to MF1 racing, before being sold to Spyker at season's end. It was then sold to Mallya, and became Force India in 2008. The team operates from Jordan's factory near the Silverstone circuit, in England. Jordan was one of the most popular teams, and it rose to as high has third in the series in 1999. It always had a much smaller budget than the top teams, but ingenuity and team cohesion allowed it to perform above its level.
More Recent Times:
During the two years that Midland operated the team, it looked to many outsiders to have lost its direction. Midland proclaimed big ambitions, but the team scraped along on a small budget and without much investment. After a year under Midland ownership, but still under the Jordan name, the team raced under the Midland name in 2006. With the arrival of Spyker, the team appeared to have a future again, and began to land important sponsors, such as Etihad Airways and Aldar Properties. But it had a lackluster season and was then sold to Mallya and started life again as Force India.
Spyker started its first season with a car not designed by the new technical team led by Mike Gascoyne. So its poor results in 2007 are not likely a sign of things to come. However, no F1 team can count on only one man to make it a winner, and Force India is on a hiring spree to try to rebuild the team. It remains one of the smallest teams in the series, with fewer than 300 employees in a sport where the top teams have up to 1000 employees. But with the prospect of an Indian Grand Prix in 2010, there is reason to believe the new management will persist, the staff will grow and results will follow.