British energy drinks firm Rich Energy is in talks to buy the Force India Formula One team, according to the Daily Mail.
The UK newspaper claims that the company is leading a consortium who are in negotiations with the Silverstone-based motorsport outfit over a deal worth around UK£200 million (US$278 million).
The news comes amid reports that Force India’s current owner, Vijay Mallya, is looking to sell the team while he continues to fight extradition back to his home country of India. The 62-year-old was arrested by British police in April last year and is being pursued by Indian authorities for charges relating to money laundering and banks demanding he pay back substantial loans granted to his now-defunct airline.
Rich Energy’s takeover bid is being fronted by chief executive William Storey, while former England and Newcastle United soccer player Rob Lee is among the company’s shareholders.
If the move is successful, Force India would become just the second British-owned Formula One team, joining nine-time world champions Williams. Rich Energy already has a presence within Formula One, including a partnership with the Monaco Grand Prix.
Force India finished fourth in Formula One’s constructors’ championship in 2017, and will try to leave the off-track uncertainty to one side when the new season begins in Australia on 25th March.