Force India has filed an unconditional entry for the 2010 season. Apparently Vijay Mallya has obligations commercially and has broken ranks with FOTA to join Williams as the only currently participating team to file an entry outside the joint conditional entry by all the member teams. This is likely to be met with a suspension similar to one Williams received when they filed an unconditional entry last week.
Force India said:
“While the Force India team is broadly in agreement with the FOTA objectives, commercial obligations have demanded that Force India review its conditional entry jointly submitted by FOTA on deadline day.
“This has been done today with full transparency between all parties. The details of the team’s position will be discussed between Dr. Vijay Mallya and FOTA vice-chairman John Howett tomorrow. No further comment will be made until those discussions have taken place.”
It is understood that Vijay will be meeting with Vice Chairman of FOTA John Howett this weekend to discuss the ramifications of their actions.
John Howett said:
“It’s likely they may be suspended.”
He added: “I haven’t really had the opportunity to speak to (Force India owner) Vijay (Mallya) directly.
“He has submitted, in accordance with FOTA, a conditional entry.
“But apparently, because of other binding legal activities due to funding or other issues, they needed to submit an official entry.
“He (Mallya) will be here over the weekend, and I will speak to him then, but I have to say I think it is the intention of FOTA to suspend them based on a face-to-face discussion with Vijay.
“But he has confirmed to me, through (deputy team principal) Bob Fearnley, he is totally supportive and committed to FOTA.”
This leaves eight (8) teams remaining with the FOTA conditional entry application and it remains to be seen if Brawn GP will hold out or break ranks but I doubt Brawn GP has the sponsor or FOM obligations to race next year in the series. What may be more interesting is if McLaren break ranks and file unconditional entries. There is not doubt that Force India is tied to McLaren strategically and it must be some serious obligations that would force them to break ranks and file outside of McLarens actions.