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Exclusive: Force India Formula 1 team expected to change owners

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By Margherita Sforza
Exclusive: Force India Formula 1 team expected to change owners
Copyright  REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

The Force India Formula One team is expected to change hands within the next few weeks after a consortium led by British-based energy drinks boss William Storey finalised a deal with the team’s beleaguered owners.

Sources close to the deal say that Storey, chief executive of Rich Energy, has finalised terms with Vijay Mallya and Subrata Roy to buy the team in the deal for an undisclosed sum.

Force India was fourth in last year’s F1 constructors’ championship.

Roy and Mallya have been looking to offload Force India for some time to raise cash to deal with their respective legal difficulties.

Roy, boss of Indian conglomerate Sahara, is in prolonged legal wrangling with the Indian financial regulator that saw him held in custody for two years, while Mallya, whose troubled business empire included the Kingfisher airline and beer brand, is battling extradition from the UK back to India to answer accusations of financial irregularities.

Storey, who was headed to this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix where Rich Energy enjoys a tie-up with the season’s most glamorous race, declined to comment on the deal.

However, an Italian fixer involved in negotiations told Euronews: “The deal is done, only the paperwork needs to be completed. It’s a big investment and it’s going to shake things up a lot.”

“It’s taken a long time to do the deal but there’s no stopping the sale now.”

New ownership of the Force India team raises the prospect of a change of name to provide a stronger marketing platform for Storey’s brand, following a similar path as rival product Red Bull.