Dr Vijay Mallya insists that he’s in no hurry to confirm Force India’s driver line-up for 2014.
Along with Lotus the team is among the most attractive with seats potentially available, and the likes of Felipe Massa and Nico Hulkenberg have been linked with a drive.
“People have come to me, but I’m notorious for making the decision at the very last minute.” Mallya told this writer. “The reason is because I think that if one was to announce a change now – if I intend to make a change – I tend to believe it will demotivate a driver who’s leaving, which I don’t think is very fair. Be that as it may, I have been approached, and I’ll consider all our options.
“There are people who believe that we have an excellent driver line-up today. Both are very talented youngsters. We’ve always tried to have a solid driver line-up, and we’ll continue that going forward.”
Asked if he was interested in Massa – who potentially has some backing – Mallya said that money was not the key issue.
“The decision will be made on the driver’s competence and potential contribution to the team. None of our race seats has ever been for sale, and I’m totally against that concept, because I will not compromise the hard work of the design team and the engineers by putting in a driver whose sole criteria is whether he brings in money or not.
“I have to admit that Massa is not just a Grand Prix winner but a damn good driver. I think even this season he’s outqualified Alonso a few times, so there’s no question about his competence. But we’ll see as it goes along.”
He also didn’t rule out bringing back Hulkenberg, even if it meant having two German drivers should Adrian Sutil stay.
“Why not? For me if nationality were to ever matter all other things being equal it would probably tilt the scales in favour of an Indian, but there are no Indians around. Beyond that, as long as there is no Indian on the horizon, I don’t care.
“To me the focus is on a driver who’s talented, can get the most out of the car, can give proper feedback, can help the engineers develop the car, and make us as a team more competitive.”