Greater Noida: India-born Monisha Kaltenborn, the first woman team principal, says the F1 world can cope with the administrative red-tapism in India but she is flummoxed by the lack of support the race is getting in this country.
Customs, visa and bureaucratic problems have been some of the major issues. Recently the state government withdrew exemption on the entertainment tax and yesterday a PIL was filed in the Supreme Court, seeking a stay on the race.
"Of course in India, we have to do a lot of administrative work. If we look at how much paper work we do together with drivers here we don`t do anywhere else but that`s something you can easily live with. That`s part of it. I don`t think it`s that big an issue," Monisha, Sauber Team principal, said.
"There are so many countries where you have withholding taxes, so it`s not unusual, so that`s not something which prevents us from coming here. What is not good is that why these kinds of obstacles are put up. What`s the agenda behind it? We see ourselves just as a sport," the Dehradun-born 42-year-old added.
The Switzerland-based Monisha said both F1 and India need each other.
"If you objectively look at it, India is a very important market for the partners we have in Formula One and there are Indian companies, which could use the F1 platform to present their brands and create awareness at global level. If that`s no longer possible due to this uncertainty, I don`t think thats good for either side because both sides benefit in it and both sides lose, if it does not happen," she said.
Monisha also said that India needs to have race regularly in the country or some association with F1 in form of driver and team.
"I wish soon we have a clear situation, if it (race) is happening. We are yet to establish here. Three years is not enough. If you compare it to the European countries, there we have certain heritage, where even if you don`t go for three, four five years, you can always go and connect over there, which will be difficult here," she said.
Talking about on-track action, the Sauber Principal said catching up Force India, who are 17 points ahead of them, was in their mind and they need to be on their toes.
"It is not impossible. But if we look at the our experience last year we were five points away from P5 but we did not manage to get our act together. Performance of the teams is close so you cannot afford to make mistakes. We have to continue not making mistakes."
Asked if she thought Force India can overcome their poor run and comeback strongly, she said, "I would never underestimate any team because I have seen that if we have two bad races and team behind us two good races suddenly we are back to where we were."
Monisha also praised Nico Hulkenberg, who moved to their team from Force India and has been instrumental in Sauber`s rise in the second half of the season.
"Nico has been, throughout the season, good. Our car was not competitive in the first half of the season but he never made mistakes, got everything out of the car, he could," she said.