With Force India facing money problems, reports have emerged claiming that Michael Andretti could step up as the team’s saviour.
Andretti was seen in the Montreal paddock for the Canadian GP with many a photograph taken of the American speaking with Fernando Alonso.
And while he may have been trying to convince the Spaniard to drop Formula 1 for IndyCars, motorsport journalist Joe Saward says he may have also been in the paddock for a different reason: Force India.
Saward wrote on his MotorsportWeek.com blog: “It was clear that this [Alonso] was not Michael’s only purpose for being in Montreal, as he was accompanied by his company president J-F Thormann and the familiar figure of Pieter Rossi, father of Andretti driver, Indy 500 winner and sometimes F1 driver, Alexander Rossi.
“You wouldn’t need the other two to get a deal with Alonso to race an Andretti-run, McLaren-badged Indycar, so it was obvious that they were also up to other things.
“Visits to Liberty Media and Force India suggested that they were there to sniff around and see if a deal could be put together to acquire the troubled team.”
He added: “It seems, from multiple sources, that a financial solution is required VERY quickly if Force India is going to avoid getting into financial and legal trouble. Current owners Vijay Mallya and Subrata Roy do not have cash available to pay for Formula 1.
“Having an Andretti team in F1 would be a terrific thing as the World Championship seeks to make a bigger impression in the United States. [Force India] is a great opportunity as there is a competitive turnkey F1 operation, which would simply require a bit of rebranding.”
Force India themselves have admitted that money is very tight at the moment with CEO Otmar Szafnauer confirming that they hit up Liberty Media for a few bob.
“It’s no secret we asked for a bit of money up front (from Liberty Media) so that gets us through the winter,” he said.
“This year, that money wasn’t forthcoming because I think some of the teams said ‘You can’t do that’ and blocked it. So that… put a bit of a financial strain on us over the winter, if you don’t have the cashflow.
“But now we’re past the winter months it should be easier for us.”