Indian billionaire entrepreneur Vijay Mallya has confirmed he has put together a rescue package for Spyker F1 which will see him take majority control of the team.
It is reported that Mallya has joined forces with Spyker s director, Michiel Mol, and together they have put together a bid worth â‚¬80m (£54m).
“Team India is on the Formula 1 grid,â€ Mallya commented. “I have been dreaming about owning a team. I was looking at the right opportunity to show up at the right time.â€ Mallya has been one of the driving forces behind an attempt to bring a Formula 1 race to India. His acquisition of Spyker has fuelled speculation that his dream of an Indian Grand Prix will materialize in the next couple of years.
The Spyker company are selling the Formula 1 arm of their company after their sports car division lost 29.9m for the first half of this year with rumours stating that the Formula 1 side of the business lost â‚¬29.9m for the first half of this year13 million in the same period. It is also possible that Spyker s parent company are in legal trouble it is understood that Spyker Cars NV are having to answer questions from the Dutch stockmarket regulator after doubts that Spyker s 2006 financial statements might not comply with the International Financial Reporting Standards.
Meanwhile, the deal between Spyker and Mallya should be finalised within 30 days. Mallya is no stranger to Formula 1 his airline, Kingfisher, already sponsor rival team Toyota. Mallya is already insisting that because Spyker are a constructor, they should get a share of the 2008 television revenues if agreed, Spyker would stand to receive around â‚¬25 million for the 2008 season.
“The deal is good for Formula 1,â€ Mallya continued. “It is good for India and it is good for Formula One Management because viewership is going to shoot up now.â€
It is unclear as to whether the current Spyker drivers will remain or whether Mallya would want to change the driver line-up. The only Indian driver to have had a race seat in Formula 1 is Narain Karthikeyan whose best race came at the US Grand Prix last season when he was one of only six cars to finish the race after all Michelin runners pulled out due to a succession of tyre failures.
Ralf Schumacher could be thrown a lifeline. With increasing speculation over the future of the German driver, it is possible he could transfer across to Mallya s team. It is understood that the two are close friends and there are rumours that Schumacher could be give an eight-figure retainer for his work as driver and advisor to the team.