Force India has been talking about changing its name for almost a year, and it might soon follow through.
The Silverstone, England-based Formula One team has come under increased pressure from sponsors to change its name, with reports suggesting the new brand will be revealed alongside its 2018 challenger, the VJM11, according to The Citizen. Force India’s chief operating officer, Otmar Szafnauer, said certain companies have specifically requested the team eliminate “India” from its name.
“Yes, a couple of potential sponsors said that if we don’t change, then we don’t come on board,” Szafnauer said.
Some initially speculated that the outfit’s desire to distance itself from its Indian roots were the result of team owner Vijay Mallya’s ongoing extradition proceedings, though Szafnauer suggests that’s not the case.
“I don’t know (why),” Force India’s COO told The Citizen. “But I think, maybe those sponsors wanted a more global approach to what they are doing, not being tied down to one country. So, they just thought if they are going to sponsor a team, they will sponsor a team which is not really tied to one country.”
Szafnauer insists the team hasn’t yet decided on its new brand, though there are many clues as to what it might be.
Force India reportedly wanted to switch its name to “Force One,” but Liberty Media insisted the potential “F1” abbreviation would be confused with the series itself. A user on /r/formula1, however, recently noticed that the company name FORCE (Formula One Racing & Creative Engineering) was registered to Force India’s Silverstone address through the U.K. Companies House.