Calcutta: Liquor baron Vijay Mallya, once an avid motor racing enthusiast (till business duties pulled him out of the fast track, literally), Sunday said he was aware of the “muddled” situation in Indian motor sports, with rival associations having carved up zones for themselves, but he could do nothing as “court cases need to be settled first”.
Mallya is chairman of both the Federation of Motorsport Clubs of India (FMSCI) and the Motorsports Association of India (MAI). The FMSCI has lost its affiliation with the world body FIA, though it has recognition from the Union government as the premier motoring organisation in the country.
It has the affiliation of FIM, the world two-wheeler sports body. The new MAI has affiliation from the FIA, but the government does not recognise it.
Several court cases hang around each neck, creating a virtual bottleneck in the country’s motorsports world, something that has the potential of rivalling cricket in sponsorship funds. He said a “sitting” of the rivals would be possible only if court cases are withdrawn, thereby distancing himself somewhat from the issues.
And, after a long time, the UB Group and its brand Kingfisher might again be back on Formula One cars. Mallya — known to be close to F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone — said he would be interested in that only if he gets good TRP ratings for the back displays that he can do.
“I have not thought of any team to sponsor (Kingfisher used to sponsor Team Benetton) now. However, if my logo price and my logo visibility — the back portion of the cars isn’t a very good place to put your logo on,” Mallya said.