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Force India

There will be some in Formula One who will miss Force India but there will others who won't. It's a name that has close to zero connection with the team and that's been the case for a while, even before the companies behind it collapsed and were rescued by, amongst others, Lawrence Stroll. This week, it was made clear: the misnomer will come off the cars at the first opportunity and Stroll's will, at least to a degree, appear on one of them.

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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.

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In Mumbai, a special money laundering court is the venue for the laying of charges against Vijay Mallya and 8 co-defendants. Mallya is described in Indian media as a "fugitive" because he left India for the UK where he lives in considerable luxury although he had divested himself of many assets including, reports suggest, at least some of his interest in the Force India Formula One team. The Court seems to agree..

We've been asking questions about Vijay Mallya for a very long time and not just in relation to the funding of his Formula One team, now rather less dependent on the group of companies he headed than it once was. Then again, the group isn't what it was, either, despite what it says on e.g. Expedia. Now he's been arrested, in London, the main questions are why has it taken almost a year since India cancelled his passport and asked for him to be sent back.

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The jailing of Indian businessman Subrata Roy two years ago raised its own questions for Force India for Sahara, the company whose name is plastered down the side of the cars, is not quite the sponsor it seems. Along with Vijay Mallya (See story ) Sahara owns most of the team. Roy, the Chairman of Sahara, was jailed because his company failed to make repayments exceeding USD5,000 million to investors after the investment bonds the company issued were found by a court to be illegal.

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Force India 2016 car courtesy and copyright Force India   There's no secret that brash Indian businessman Vijay Mallya's business model for Force India depended on the success of his other businesses and his relationships with other companies. Kingfisher Airlines crashed (the company, not its planes) despite Mallya's highly publicised claims that they had the best looking stewardesses in the sky. But that was not the only dark cloud in his firmament. This time, it's his own money that's at stake amid allegations of money laundering.

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