Silverstone: Embattled Indian business tycoon Vijay Mallya, declared a proclaimed offender by a Mumbai court in a money laundering case,on Friday said that “life must go on” as he made a rare public appearance on the Formula 1 racing track in Silverstone.
The UB Group chairman, who has been based in the UK since early this year and who co-owns Sahara Force India, is here for the Formula 1 British Grand Prix at Silverstone in Northamptonshire, in the East Midlands region of England.
“I love racing, I’m a petrolhead, I’m passionate about it, that’s why I bought this team in the first place. Monaco I missed terribly, I missed the bonus of the podium in Monaco, I missed Baku, which I believe is fantastic. To that extent I’d be lying if I said I missed nothing,” he said.
“Having said that life must go on, and being based here and not travelling I have more time to devote to what I want to. Working out six days a week so I shed a few kilos and I’m feeling good and fit,” he told ‘motorsport.com’.
The flamboyant liquor baron admitted that the inability to travel due to his passport being revoked by the Indian government is “frustrating”. “But equally it isn’t the end of the world. England has always been a home to me, I’ve been resident here with leave to remain indefinitely since 1992, so I am very familiar with it. It isn’t as if I am in some sort of alien land.”
In reference to Force India, he said the team was in a healthy state and will target fourth place this season.
“Fourth is the target, we’ll do everything we can to get there. The finances of the team are vastly improved, and in fact have improved year on year. It doesn’t cost the shareholders what it did five or six years ago,” he said.
Force India have 59 points while Williams are fourth with 92 points. Mallya is currently wanted in India over loan default cases related to the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has published a court-issued proclamation for him to appear before the special PMLA court on 29 July.