Force India cool hopes of Aston Martin rebranding

Thu Jan 14, 2016 5:59pm EST
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By Alan Baldwin

BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) - Force India are unlikely to have Aston Martin branding this season but talks have not been abandoned entirely, the Formula One team's chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer said on Thursday.

"We're still discussing," he said at the Autosport show.

"In the short term, meaning 2016, I don't see that type of rebranding happening. But you never know what the future holds thereafter."

Force India's co-owner and principal Vijay Mallya, the Indian liquor baron, had told Reuters last October that the team were discussing a potential three-way deal involving the British sportscar marque and whisky brand Johnny Walker.

The agreement would have seen the British-based team transformed in name and look to feature the Aston Martin branding.

"Obviously, if something is going to happen, it should happen before the start of next season because then one would have to think about the livery, the uniforms, team kit and so many other things," Mallya had said then.

Force India have struggled financially and sought in October a $10 million advance on their 2016 championship payments, the same amount they were granted before the start of the season.

Loss-making Aston Martin, famous as the marque of choice for fictional British secret agent James Bond, is five percent owned by Mercedes -- who provide Force India's engines.   Continued...

Force India Formula One driver Sergio Perez of Mexico drives during the Mexican F1 Grand Prix at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, November 1, 2015.  REUTERS/Henry Romero