Indian billionaire moves into team ownership

Indian entrepreneur Vijay Mallya has acquired a 50 per cent stake in the Spyker F1 team, and he intends to give the outfit a patriotically Indian flavour in future.

The erstwhile Jordan team was acquired from Midland late last year via a complex arrangement involving the Dutch Mol family. Keen to give the team an appealing brand name, the Mols first bought into Spyker Cars, before the Dutch supercar company in turn acquired the F1 team.

The struggling road car business proved rather less successful than had been anticipated, and the Mols decided to cut their losses by attempting to buy Spyker F1 back from Spyker Cars. Mallya emerged as a willing partner in the process. It’s believed he will have a greater say than the Mols in how the team develops.

The extrovert Mallya was first noticed in F1 when his Kingfisher beer backed Benetton in the 1990s. More recently, his domestic airline has supported Toyota. He has also made a big splash with lavish parties on his yacht in Monaco and Istanbul.