CASH-STRAPPED Formula 1 team Force India isn’t for sale. The team overnight made the unprecedented step of releasing a statement distancing itself from talk of a takeover that would resurrect the Brabham name to the top tier of motorsport.
“Following recent media reports speculating on the sale of Force India Formula One Team Limited, the company’s shareholders wish to clarify that there is no offer from potential investors under consideration,” a statement from the team read.
“The team is focused on the start of testing next week where the 2018 car will be presented in Barcelona on Monday, February 26. The team’s drivers, Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon, will pull the covers off the VJM11 and pose for photos in the pit lane at 8am local time.”
Force India’s unusual plan to reveal the car’s 2018 livery on the morning of the first official day of testing this weekend has prompted speculation that the team was about to hand itself over to a new owner, with the recently formed Brabham Automotive – the company formed by Sir Jack Brabham’s son David, that wants to reinvent itself as a supercar maker – tipped as the buyer.
Brabham Automotive is counting down to an early May launch that will reveal more clues as to how it plans to shape its future. It was believed that the future car maker would follow the same path as now highly successful British supercar maker McLaren, which used its F1 experience to fuel a business building a new generation of low-slung, highly desirable performance coupes.
The relaunch also comes after a failed attempt to “crowdfund” a Brabham-liveried pitch at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a concept that soon fizzled. The pitch to potential investors included the potential to design elements of the endurance race contender, which could then potentially make its way onto the race car.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Brabham family’s involvement in motorsport. The www.brabhamautomotive.com website said it would mark the anniversary by publishing images from the family’s motorsport history, as well as “ glimpses of the future”.
Sir Jack, who died in 2014, remains the only person to win the Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship title in a car bearing his name.