Guest Author - Christine Blachford
At the beginning of the season, the only goal Force India had was to get through the first session of qualifying and have a driver take a shot at the top 15. They achieved this, so the objectives moved on. The team wanted to score their first championship point of the season, but unfortunately, it was not to be.
Having suffered a point-less debut season, team owner Vijay Mallya has decided to make a change for his second year. Firstly, the team have parted company with engine suppliers Ferrari. The customer contract was supposed to expire in 2009, but Mallya has ended it early. They did confirm a few weeks ago that talks were ongoing with McLaren for a Mercedes deal, but as yet there has been no confirmation. Mallya did say that he would be happy to reimburse Ferrari for any costs they had incurred on next season's engine.
Secondly, and more importantly, Mallya has reorganised the management structure of the team, taking over a lot of the responsibility himself. He admitted that Force India is one of the biggest challenges he has ever taken on, and having watched the team for a year, he's now ready to take a more hand-on approach. This means that previous technical team Mike Gascoyne and Colin Kolles are now out of a job. The pair have been in the news this year for disagreeing over the way the team should move forward, so it would seem that neither of their ideas was to Mallya's liking.
At the moment, he has taken over the role of Team Principal, and is organising the day to day running of the team, however he has said a new technical structure will be announced next week.
It seems very unusual for a team to ditch two of the most important people in their team. Even if the pair of them weren't getting on, you would assume that at least one of them was capable of taking the team forward. Mallya doesn't have as much experience of running a motorsports team, let alone an F1 team, but perhaps his announcement next week will bring on board someone who will be more to his liking.
Thankfully, the team already announced they would be keeping the same drivers, which will lead to some consistency for next season. It always takes time for reorganisations to work themselves out, so keeping the same drivers should help them enormously.