New Delhi: Karun Chandhok can kiss his Force
India ambitions good-bye, at least for the time being, after
chairman of the resurgent outfit Vijay Mallya said he doesn't
consider any Indian driver good enough for Formula One.
Embolden after the team's stunning show in the last two
races, Mallya was amused by the populist demand that Karun
should be handed a race seat at the team even though the
Chennai driver did not have an F1 super license.
"My job is to make sure that the team is successful.
Whichever driver I need, that is completely my decision. I
want someone to convince me and justify the drama about this
Indian driver thing," Mallya told Indian journalists via
teleconference from Monza, where Force India driver Adrian
Sutil came fourth to underline the outfit's growing stature.
"The fact remains, right now no Indian driver is good
enough for Formula One," he added.
"Force India carries the hope of a billion and I too
would love to have an Indian driver but he must be good
"There is no rule, even though some people trying or
propagate otherwise, that you have to have a driver of
particular nationality. We need only the best drivers to get
the maximum performance," he added.
Karun himself did no good to his cause, finishing 19th
and 12th in this weekend's GP2 races at Monza.
Mallya was baffled by the clamour for a seat for Karun
even though the Chennai driver doesn't qualify for a Formula
One super licence.
"First and foremost, FIA rules say a driver must finish
among the top three in GP2 championship before he becomes
eligible for an F1 super licence. Now if FIA would like to
make an exception for Karun, that's their business, not mine,"
"I told Karun clearly that he needs to win some GP 2
races and give me the confidence that he is upto the mark. But
if he doesn't achieve that -- he tells me his GP2 car is not
good enough -- he has to go through the simulator and prove
how good he is at F1 car," he added.
Mallya has offered Karun to prove his F1 mettle in the
Incidentally, Karun himself did not seem too happy with
the simulator offer and said it was more of a glorious toy.
Mallya took strong offence to this suggestion.
"The simulator is not some kind of toy, as some people
tried to make people believe. Even commercial pilots use
simulator before getting their license to fly a plane. This is
a misinterpretation that I'm offering him just the simulator
and not the car.”
"This is the same simulator used by drivers like Lewis
Hamilton, Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi," he pointed out.
Sutil also shed some light on the simulator and said it
has done a world of good to him.
"It's very reliable and you feel exactly the same. It
definitely gives you a clear view of the driver, how good he
"Tonio (Liuzzi) did a lot of practice with the simulator
and that's why he looked so experienced in Monza even though
it was his first race in nearly two years. This simulator is
clearly an advantage," Sutil said.
First Published: Monday, September 14, 2009, 15:12