New Delhi, March 10 IANS | 5 months ago

Force India deputy team principal Robert Fernley has said the Formula 1 team is "saddened" by the arrest of its co-owner and Sahara Group chief Subrata Roy but hastened to assure that the off-track activities will have no bearing on their performance this season, beginning March 16 in Melbourne.


"We are saddened with what is happening back in India and we hope things settle down soon. Our shareholders (both Vijay Mallya and Subrata Roy) have been extremely supportive and that is the reason why we have been performing consistently," Fernley told IANS over phone from Bangkok after Roy was sent to Tihar Jail for not returning investors' money as directed by the Supreme Court of India.

"It may sound harsh in the prevailing situation, I am sure the owners would also want us to give our best in Melbourne," Fernley said ahead of the Australian Grand Prix which will mark the beginning of a new era in F1.

Team principal Mallya and Roy have a 42.5 percent stake each in the F1 outfit with the remaining 15 percent going to the Mol family of the Netherlands.

Mallya's business empire has been shrinking with the closure of the Kingfisher Airlines operations in 2012.

The Silverstone squad has emerged as a strong mid-field outfit, finishing sixth in the team standings in 2013 and challenging for podiums on occasions. Its sole top three finish came at Spa in 2009 when Giancarlo Fisichella came second from pole position.

(Posted on 10-03-2014)