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The tiger has become a panther vows Mallya

NEWS STORY
22/01/2014

As his team offers fans their first glimpse of his team's 2014 contender, Vijay Mallya vows that "the tiger has become a panther!"

Dr Mallya, how much are you looking forward to the challenge of 2014?
"I always enjoy seeing a Formula One car come to life, but I can't remember so much anticipation ahead of a new season. The rule changes have presented us with a huge challenge, but I'm very proud of the approach we have taken and the direction of the technical team. It will be fascinating to see how different teams have interpreted the rules and at this stage it's impossible to predict who has done the best job. It's this uncertainty that should make for a very entertaining season of racing, which is great news for the fans."

Despite all the uncertainty you must have a goal in mind for 2014?
"We've got to aim higher than last year. It's an ambitious goal, but I believe it's a realistic one because we have to look forward and take the fight to the teams ahead of us. We have the key elements in place to continue moving forward, such as our expanded agreement with Mercedes-Benz to include the complete power unit and gearbox. As I've said before, I believe they represent the best partner to work with in this new era of Formula One. Combined with our strong driver line-up there is definitely the potential for 2014 to be our strongest season yet."

Talking of the drivers, you've signed up two of the most promising young talents on the grid. You must be delighted…
"I'm very happy to have such an exciting pairing of Nico and Checo. My philosophy has always been to choose drivers based on their speed and ability to perform, and we've done that again this year. Nico has been with us before, so we understand him and know how quick he is. It's great to have him back. As for Sergio, he's an exceptionally talented driver who I have watched carefully over the last three years. He's clearly got incredible speed and at just 23 has great potential. As a combination we thought they would make a strong pairing. Nico will be a good benchmark for Sergio, and vice versa, and they will bring out the best in each other."

The car has a new look to go with the new driver line-up. What is the thinking behind the new paint scheme?
"The new car livery reflects the way Sahara Force India is evolving. I've always believed the saffron, white and green livery has made our cars the most eye-catching, but adding black as a main colour gives us a fierce new look. The national colours of India remain an integral part of the car, but the tiger has become a panther! As we enter our seventh season with new partnerships and new names on the car, our contemporary new look helps signal our ambition."

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