Force India’s chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer says the ongoing situation surrounding Vijay Mallya is not distracting the team.

Mallya has been at the centre of huge media interest in India as a number of banks look to recover debts following the collapse of his Kingfisher airline. Mallya made clear earlier this week that he has been cooperating with the banks and investigative agencies and says he will continue to do so in order to try and reach a settlement.

Szafnauer told F1i on Thursday the focus on Mallya’s personal situation has not had an impact on Force India’s progress throughout a strong pre-season.

Asked it the recent coverage had been distracting at all, Szafnauer replied: “No.

“Every time Vijay talks to me he always asks me the same thing which is ‘How is our relative performance? How are we looking? How are we going to do at the first race? How did testing go?’ It all revolves around the performance of the team, which is exactly what an owner of a Formula 1 team should be asking.

“That’s his main focus when it comes to the team. He wants us to do as well as he can and he pushes us in that direction. The other stuff that you read about in the press, I don’t talk to him about that.”

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