Lawrence Stroll’s deal to transform Racing Point into an Aston Martin works team is the realisation of a long-held “dream”, says former owner Vijay Mallya.
Owning the Formula 1 team as Force India from 2008-2018, Mallya built the former Spyker into one of the most consistently-performing midfield teams in the sport, before legal and financial issues forced him to sell to Stroll.
“I am delighted for Lawrence and I’m delighted for the team,” Mallya said to Autosport. “To ultimately become a works team was always a dream.
“Lawrence and I are friends, and in fact I congratulated him this morning on the news. He’s a very astute investor, and his track record proves that.
“For Racing Point it is absolutely fabulous that it will become a works team with support from a great British marque like Aston, with all its heritage.
“Aston has plenty of followers, and they will all become Racing Point followers as well.”
Mallya also admitted he had talks with Aston Martin to bring them on-board in 2015, before the British marque opted to go with Red Bull Racing instead.
“We had conversations with Aston five years ago, not to become a works team, but to have Aston become the title sponsor, and give us some technical support.
“I don’t know what the deal is with Red Bull, but I don’t think Aston has technical input. Red Bull have the genius Adrian Newey, so I don’t think they need anybody else!”
The subject of an ongoing fraud investigation by the Indian government, Mallya has spent much of the past few years fighting an extradition request in the British courts. Unable to travel outside the UK, his only appearance at a grand prix since relinquishing the team was at Silverstone last year. Nevertheless, Mallya says he doesn’t miss being an owner.
“”I had 10 full years in F1 … I enjoyed every moment of those 10 years, and now it’s time to do something else.
“I nursed it along for 10 years, I delivered two results of fourth in the constructors’ championship, which I’m very proud of.
“The team is still in my DNA, and I’m absolutely delighted for the team.
“I believe the car for 2020 has made some giant strides and I’m eagerly looking forward to the commencement of the season.