Vijay Mallya has stepped down from his role as a director of Force India. He will, however, continue to serve as the team principal of the Silverstone-based outfit. Mallya’s son, Siddarth, will take on the board role.
Mallya says he want to focus on his own legal issues and doesn't want them to impact the team. "I continue as team principal," said Mallya.
"There was no compulsion anywhere to resign, it's just that I decided that my son should replace me. I have my own legal issues to take care of, so it's better that the company remains unaffected.”
Mallya downplayed ongoing suggestions that the team is close to a sale.
"Rumours keep going on and on and on, and people talk and talk and talk," he said. "That's what the F1 paddock is all about. The finances of Force India, whether I'm selling or not selling, has been a matter of speculation on and off for many years. We don't go around with a 'for sale' sign. The bottom line is that we are focusing on getting the best performance out of the car, and that is our priority. We're focusing on getting more sponsors. There are three shareholders, remember, I'm not the only one. If somebody comes along with a serious offer, and puts cash on the table, we will jointly consider it.”
Mallya also denied rumours that Mercedes might strengthen its ties with Force India by extending the current cooperation on engines and gearbox and making it into a junior or B-team.
"I have not had any discussions with Mercedes; they have not made any approach towards us," he said. "This hasn't even featured in casual discussions."
Regarding this season's form, he said: "We've not had the best of luck. Last year we had the good fortune of both cars finishing, and both in the points. This season, for one reason or another both cars have not finished in the points yet. Hopefully that will get corrected as the season goes on.”
"In terms of competitiveness and race pace this is evolving, and we're getting better through the year as we develop. We're quite pleased with where we are; we just have to make sure both cars are in the points from now on. There's a long way to go."