Whether India's aspirations of hosting a Formula One Grand Prix in 2009 become a reality or not, the country will definitely have a team on the grid soon.
Vijay Mallya on Saturday evening announced the 100 per cent acquisition of the Spyker Ferrari Formula One team through a 50-50 joint venture with the Mol Family of the Netherlands, a major shareholder in Spyker Cars N.V. — the company that bought the F1 team from Midland last year. Mallya and the Mol Family have set up a joint holding company called Orange India Holdings that has won the bid competing against two other companies that were interested in buying the team. The deal is reportedly worth 90 million Euros and Mallya, who claims to have bought the F1 team in his personal capacity, will put around half of it.
"The offer has been accepted by the Board of Spyker Cars and exclusivity has been granted to Orange India Holdings to proceed with the diligence binding aggrements and such other formalities that are necessary to achieve completion within 30 days," Mallya said.
In plain terms, it means that Mallya can be chairman of the Spyker Ferrari Formula One team within 30 days if he manages to get to sign deals with current sponsors and fulfil the financial obligations. That seems a mere formality considering the fact that the entire Formula One group sees India as a destination with business potential.
"I am very excited that I have managed to fulfil my dream of owning a Formula One team," said Mallya.
The liquor baron refused to comment on the possible name change of the Spyker team but said it would be his endeavour to ensure that the word "India" is included in the name.