Top Indian motor sport official claims future of F1 in country still ‘bleak’
Washington: Vicky Chandhok, president of the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India has claimed the future of motor sport in the country is still bleak even though the second edition of the Indian Grand Prix would be held this weekend.
Father of Karun Chandhok, one of only two Indian drivers to have competed in Formula One along with Narain Karthikeyan, added that the increasing need for drivers to attract big-money sponsors has made it harder for talented youngsters to break through, especially with F1 battling to gain a foothold in India`s sporting spectrum.
“After Narain and Karun, I really can`t see an Indian driver for the next, I would say, eight to 10 years. Formula One has become all about money ... it never was earlier, you could find a slot with just talent,” CNN.com quoted Chandhok, as saying.
“The Formula One teams have decided that even if you`ve got talent, let`s have your checkbook as well -- bring in five, 10, 20 million dollars and let`s give you the seat,” he added.
“India needs heroes; India needs superheroes like Sachin Tendulkar. Narain and Karun have certainly given the sport, or our sport at least in India, the slot that it desperately needed. Formula One has helped,” he said.
Red Bull`s Sebastian Vettel won last year`s inaugural race at the Buddh International Circuit, near New Delhi, but Chandhok fears interest in the event has dipped since then.
Chandhok added: “There`s been a massive drop in buzz, I don`t know why. After the first year, we had a sellout crowd in year one of 95,000 people, but year two there has been a dip.”
“I think we will end up with 60,000 spectators in the stands ... (in India) nobody`s used to be parked in long queues just waiting to get to a Formula One event, having to find passes -- it`s a very sanitized atmosphere,” he said.