Force India driver Sergio Perez may find himself racing under a new banner in 2018. File photo: Moises Castillo / AP

Silverstone, Northamptonshire - Force India could have a new name before Formula One's pre-season testing starts in Spain in February.

A spokesman for the British-based Formula One team said on Tuesday plans had yet to be finalised, however.

"A name change ahead of the new season remains a possibility," he said. "If it happens it would be announced ahead of the launch/testing or at the launch."

Team name changes need the approval of Formula One's governing body and commercial rights holder. The team has officially entered the championship as Sahara Force India F1.

Team owner fighting extradition 

Force India team team boss Vijay Mallya has problems of his own. File photo: Frank Augstein / AP

Force India is run and co-owned by Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya, who is fighting an Indian government request to extradite him from Britain to face fraud charges related to the collapse of his Kingfisher Airlines. Mallya, who has not left Britain since March 2016, has said a name change would make the team more attractive to potential sponsors.

"I was passionate about putting an Indian team on the grid," he said at the 2017 British Grand Prix. "Now, things have changed. Force India is getting very limited in terms of potential.

"The Indian Grand Prix is gone, sadly. There are no Indian sponsors who've come to the table. They seem to be spending all their money on cricket. And I need for the continuing financial stability of this team to reach out to more international sponsors."

Something different

The team registered a string of companies using the Force One name in 2017 but that appears to have been dropped as an option.

Deputy team principal Bob Fernley said in November: "Anything to do with Force is probably, for the time being, on the back burner. I think that we may have to go to something completely different, if we're going to go at all."

Force India has finished fourth for the past two seasons, scoring more points than ever before in 2017. The team launched its 2017 car at Silverstone, over the road from the factory, but this season's presentation is likely to be at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya where testing starts on 26 February, ahead of the season-opening Australian Grand Priz on 25 March.