Mallya and Mol set for Spyker takeover 03 Sep 2007
Indian businessman Dr Vijay Mallya and Dutch entrepreneur Michiel Mol look set to become the new owners of the Spyker Formula One team, which was bought from the Midland Group only a year ago by sportscar makers Spyker Cars.
Mallya - Chairman and CEO of Toyota sponsor Kingfisher Airlines - and Mol - Spykers Formula One Director - say they have had their offer accepted by the Spyker board, and that the deal is expected to go through within a month.
It follows last months announcement from Spyker that it was considering selling the team as part of an ongoing strategic review. If the takeover goes ahead, it means the former Jordan team could be renamed yet again, following recent incarnations as Midland and MF1.
"I have been dreaming about owning a Formula One team - I was looking at the right opportunity to show up at the right time," said Mallya, who is expected to become the teams chairman and managing director.
Spyker have endured a difficult 2007 season and have yet to score a championship point with their Ferrari-powered F8-VII car. And while Mallya envisages a far brighter future for the team, he ruled out the possibility of any quick fixes.
"2008 will be the starting point for a gradual improvement, he said. No miracles are going to be produced."
Mallya, whose UB Group has beer, spirits and airline operations in India, also refused to be drawn on new team names or driver line-ups. Incumbents Adrian Sutil and Sakon Yamamoto remain unconfirmed for 2008 and Mallyas involvement has heightened speculation of an Indian driver - such as Williams tester Narain Karthikeyan - winning a seat.
"As of today I won't be able to commit whether Spyker-Ferrari will continue to maintain the same name or not next season. What name the new team will race under is subject to approval of other teams and the F1 management.
"It would give me immense pleasure to see an Indian drive an Indian Formula One car, but we have to consult with the team principal and chief technical officer," he continued.
Karthikeyan raised the profile of Formula One racing in his home country when he became the first Indian to compete in a Grand Prix with Jordan in 2005. Now Mallya believes his purchasing Spyker could boost it still further.
The deal is good for F1. It's good for India and for F1's management because (Indian) viewership is going to shoot up now," he added.