2011 F1 season
Vijay Mallya says he won’t bow to pressure to put an Indian driver in his car.
The Force India team principal said he will put the interests of his team first: “Everybody has been quite critical of me, particularly in India, as to why I don’t have an Indian driver in the car.
“They’re trying to force comments out of me on the two Indian drivers that we currently have and I’m not going to fall into that trap. All I know is what’s good for my team and that’s what I’ve been doing.”
Mallya, who is also honourary chairman of the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India, praised the three young drivers selected for Force India’s One From A Billion Hunt to find a young Indian racer:
“I’ve often said that amongst 1.2 billion people there’s got to be a Lewis Hamilton somewhere. We found three exceptionally talented kids, all 14 or under.”
Mallya added he was yet to make a decision on whether Nico Hulkenberg would replace Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta in 2012:
“All the drivers have asked me to make an early decision, and I respect that. I have a big decision to make! But it’s not made yet – I’m not the type of guy who’s going to make a decision and string people along. When I decide I will just tell them the way it is and that’s it.”
Mallya admitted the team are under pressure from a resurgent Toro Rosso for sixth place in the championship: “Toro Rosso has clearly made a huge step since Japan. We’ve also made a bit of a step with the upgrades we brought to India.
“But at the end of the day you never know until the last race is over. We found that out painfully last year when Williams pipped us by one point, but now I think we’re comfortably in sixth position, ahead of Toro Rosso as well as Sauber. But it’s never done until it’s done.”
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