Are Force India struggling to stay afloat?

Nico Hulkenberg Force India

Force India are the latest privateer F1 team to have their future called into question after it was revealed that the squad had recorded a loss of £38.5million in its most recent accounts.

The team, which is owned by Vijay Mallya, the Sahara Group and Dutch businessman Michiel Mol, have been one of the most outspoken outfits regarding F1's financial inequalities and were reportedly close to boycotting the U.S Grand Prix in protest.

Deputy team principal Bob Fernley made his feelings clear ahead of the race in Austin, suggesting that there was a pre-planned effort to force smaller squads out of the sport. This would result in either three-car teams or the use of customer cars, both of which Force India are against.

"F1 is at a crossroads. There is clearly an agenda," Fernley told the BBC. "Two teams [Marussia and Caterham] have been forced out. How many need to be forced out before they achieve the goal they are looking for?

"We have missed an opportunity in F1 to be able to get it sustainable," he continued. "That is past us and there is no point looking back.

"I think F1 will be in a different format in 2015 and I don't know what that is,” Fernley concluded.

It has since been suggested that Force India may be in a more perilous financial state than was first realised, particularly after a report by F1 finance expert Christian Sylt said the team posted a loss of £38.5million in its latest accounts. Their auditor added that the uncertainty “may cast significant doubt about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”

Meanwhile team boss Mallya has endured a difficult period concerning his own businesses: his Kingfisher Airline has been grounded since 2012, following which the United Bank of India declared Mallya a “wilful defaulter”. Trading in the airline is now set to be suspended. However Mallya has firmly denied that his team’s place in the sport is in jeopardy.

“All this speculation I think needs to stop,” he told the Reuters news agency. “It’s not doing anybody any good. The bottom line is we’re okay.”

Reuters also reports that one of Mallya’s co-owners, the Sahara Group’s Subrata Roy, is currently in prison following the company’s ‘failure to refund billions of dollars raised in outlawed bonds.’ However Mallya denied that this is a further indication of trouble at the team.

“Sahara is by no means financially weak or bankrupt,” said Mallya. “On the contrary Sahara has a huge amount of financial resources. It is just that they have been asked to refund money to investors and there’s a dispute there.”

Force India have officially confirmed Nico Huldenberg for next season, while Mallya has announced that Sergio Perez will also remain in an unchanged line-up. The German driver brings no money to the team, though Perez has significant funds from a group of Mexican sponsors.