|© Force India
Vijay Mallya insisted that his Formula 1 team and his ailing Kingfisher Airlines are two completely separate entities and the troubles for one won’t permeate into the other.
The liquor baron was under the spotlight at last weekend’s Indian Grand Prix with speculation indicating that the Force India team principal may not make an appearance at the venue.
However, Mallya walked into the paddock on Saturday ahead of the qualifying session and slammed the Indian media for 'cooking up sensational headlines daily' and tarnishing his image.
"You believe that Indian papers have any credibility?" Mallya was quoted saying by Reuters. "There is no libel law in India so there is nothing you can do to bring them to book.
"Kingfisher Airlines is a Plc. They (local media) don't understand the concept of a Plc,” he explained. "In a Plc where is one man, who might be the chairman, responsible for the finances of the entire Plc? And what has it got to do with all my other businesses? I have built up and run the largest spirits company in the world in this country."
The team’s drivers made it clear that they only see their boss at the races maintaining that it was none of their business to comment on Mallya’s other commercial activities and the issues associated with them.
"As far as I am aware the two companies aren’t the same. There's a Formula 1 division and there's Vijay's other businesses,” clarified Paul di Resta.
“I'm employed to race a car,” the Scot added.
F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone too defended Mallya, hoping for the best.
"I've known Vijay for 30 odd years. Vijay during his life has had ups and downs," the 82-year-old told Reuters. "And I hope if he's on a down, which I don't know whether he is, he'll be up again.
"I don't think Vijay's problem will affect the team. I hope it doesn't affect him, because he's a good guy," he added.