Vijay Mallya has stepped down as a director of the Force India team – handing the role to his son – but will remain as the team principal.
He will hand over his role on the board to his son Siddarth, who has worked in the family business as well as holding a director role in the Royal Challengers Bangalore cricket team.
Outside of Formula One, Mallya’s other businesses are experiencing financial difficulties and he is facing charges in his home country of India.
Mallya said that he wanted to focus more attention on his ongoing legal issues, and does not want these issues to affect the team.
“My son Siddarth has been appointed instead of me on the board of Force India,” Mallya Sr told Autosport. “That’s it. And I continue as team principal.
“There was no compulsion anywhere to resign, it’s just that I decided that my son should replace me.
“I have my own legal issues to take care of, so it’s better that the company remains unaffected. It’s better that my son replaces me.”
Whilst he denied that his Force India team are close to being sold, he added that serious offers for the team would be considered by the group of shareholders.
“Rumours keep going on and on and on, and people talk and talk and talk,” he said.
“That’s what the F1 paddock is all about. The finances of Force India, whether I’m selling or not selling, has been a matter of speculation on and off for many years.
“We don’t go around with a ‘for sale’ sign. The bottom line is that we are focusing on getting the best performance out of the car, and that is our priority. We’re focusing on getting more sponsors.
“There are three shareholders, remember, I’m not the only one.
“If somebody comes along with a serious offer, and puts cash on the table, we will jointly consider it.”
Mallya also took the opportunity to deny that Mercedes are looking to increase their involvement with the team and effectively turn Force India into a junior team.
“I have not had any discussions with Mercedes, they have not made any approach to us,” he said. “This hasn’t even featured in casual discussions.”
Mallya, who purchased the Spyker team along with Michel Mol back in 2007, has overseen the growth of the team from Silverstone, which ran as Jordan from 1991-2005.
The team have become one of the most consistent midfield runners, securing fourth place in the constructors’ championship in 2016 and 2017 and achieving six podiums, one pole position and a best race result of second place.
All images: Motorsport Images