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Force India's end game as adminstrators go in.

Publication: 
Bryan Edwards
chiefofficersnet

The last of the Formula One team backed by entrepreneurs with connections to airlines has announced that it has entered administration. Virgin sold out, Team Lotus/Caterham (backed by AirAsia's Tony Fernandez) went into liquidation and now Force India, backed by Vijay Mallya has had the late Friday knock on the doors after creditors appointed administrators. The only surprise is that it's taken so long.

You can't keep Vijay Mallya down. As one looks through our reports over the past several years, the one thing that characterises him is an astonishing ability to distance himself from the realities of his situation and to pretend that, if not rosy, his world isn't all doom and gloom. Only last month, he was at the British Grand Prix, happily giving interviews to almost anyone that would listen. Speaking to David Croft of Sky Sports F1, off-mic, he told the journalist that at his home in England he had what amounted to a replica pit-wall so that he could remain in close touch despite what is, to all intents and purposes, his self-imposed exile in the UK where he is doing his best to pretend that the extremely complex legal situation relating to, amongst other things, the collapsed Kingfisher airline are really nothing at all to do with him. Force India continue to have Kingfisher branding on cars and drivers but that's for the beer (much loved in curry houses in England by those who, somehow, think that the fact it's brewed in India makes it a more authentic experience (it isn't. It's a mass market lager that's nowhere near as awful as, for example, Fosters but isn't close to being as nice as the Hong Kong brewed version of San Miguel). I digress.

The administrators appointed handled the administration proceedings for Marussia / Manor Grand Prix Racing, which failed some time after Virgin's exit (Manor Racing's non-F1 businesses remain active in the World Endurance Championship).

Only last Thursday, the day before administrators were appointed, Crash.net reported that the team's number one driver Perez had said "the situation is critical. There's no secret the financial problems have held the team back quite a bit... But when you look at the results... we are fifth in the constructors' championship and you cannot imagine the financial issues we've had so far. It just shows the potential that this team has."

That now seems almost disingenuous - but perhaps it wasn't. It might have just been Perez playing the same kind of hard tactics he has often used on the track. Within 48 hours, according to Mallya, Perez, Mercedes and sponsor LWT are the creditors who obtained the administration order. Quite how that's going to make the team react to Perez will be found out today and tomorrow because the administrators have authorised the continuation of the race weekend, which was already under-way, in Hungary. As I write this piece, FP3 has just finished and Perez, uncharacteristically, was second slowest with only Lance Stroll behind him. Hungary is the last race before the summer break but the summer break is not long. In F1, the summer break is tantamount to a lockout at the factory: no development or other work is permitted under the rules.

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