As Force India launched the 2008 Formula One car on February 7th, 2008, co-owner Vijay Mallya got an array of sponsors into his new venture. ICICI Bank, Kanyan Capital, the Medion Group, Reliance Industries, Magnet Marelli and Dalmore have come on board as sponsors.
“In terms of getting sponsors, this is the first time that I find myself in this position. Generally, it is the other way around. However, I know what a sponsor looks for in terms of value and we will be able to deliver it,” said Vijay Mallya. The budget for his team exceeds $120 million this year.
Mallya admitted, “Five years ago, nobody would have thought it possible that India would be present on the Formula One circuit. The country was not ready. Today though our presence is just one manifestation of the direction the country is moving in. India has a middle class of 400 million people and this offers a lot of scope for the F1 sport to grow.”
“While cricket is the dominant sport, it is my hope that Indians will come together and support our team. There are only 11 teams that compete on the circuit and to be one of them is an honour,” he told to reporters in Mumbai.
The new race car named VJ01 is running for the first time at the next test in Barcelona from 25-27 February.