Force India boss Vijay Mallya says no one has called him about Giancarlo Fisichella moving to Ferrari to replace under-performing test-driver Luca Badoer for the reaming races of 2009.
Fair neough but what Autosport is also mentioning is that FIF1 apparently still has debt with Ferrari over the 2008 customer engines provided that may or may not play in to negotiations for the services of the veteran Italian driver.
They don’t list their source for the information however it could be an easy game of connect the dots to suggest that remaining debt would be something Mallya is keen to eliminate and as Sutil is a competent driver, losing Fisi in the waning months of the 2009 season may not be a large sacrifice if it could erase some or all of the remaining debt.
It is just a thought but then Ferrari and Mallya are shrewd business people and they both can recognize an opportunity when they see one. The question is, how much are potential points worth for Mallya if he believes Fisi can deliver again at Monza? Is the bird in the hand worth two in the bush? If the potential of more points is worth more than the outstanding debt, perhaps that answers the question.
Long-term debt and associated interest expense is never something you want on the balance sheet and a chance to eliminate that would be a good move for Mallya. Three components remain, Fisi’s salary until the end of the year, Long-term debt and interest owed Ferrari and the term of that note and the potential revenue form any points won in Monza. The deal, in my mind, would be for Ferrari to take over the remaining salary expense until the end of the year while also reducing as much of the debt as you could negotiate.
Why the salary first? That’s a weekly/monthly expense (presumably) and would free up cash. If Ferrari were not willing to absorb the salary expense and forgive all the debt; then you go for the salary and an extension to the note for an additional period of time reducing principle and interest payments. This way you get the weekly/monthly expense of the salary off the books and reduce your monthly debt interest expense. They could also supplant another “points” clause in the deal allowing for any points scored by Fisi to help offset the note further. Points to Ferrari equal big money and third in the championship is a big money haul for them. Luca is not getting it done int he points category and presumably Fisi would in a Ferrari.
Just my thoughts but I know very little about the business of F1 wheeling and dealing. They have everything under control I am sure.