Mallya wants competitive Indian driver

Posted on Author Keith Collantine

Vijay Mallya says he wants to see an Indian driver racing for his team Force India – but only one that can fight with the front runners.

In an apparent snub to Karun Chandhok, who became the second Indian driver to compete in F1 this year, Mallya told

It is very important [to have an Indian driver]. I would love it. I?m not a fool and can see the enormous publicity potential which would come from it. The downside at the moment is that there is not one Indian pilot who has the potential to battle the best on the track.
Vijay Mallya

Asked if he could have his pick of any of the drivers in F1 at the moment Mallya opted for Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel over current drivers Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi.

He endorsed Sutil’s potential, however, saying:

Adrian has got a lot of potential and is extremely quick, but Lewis [Hamilton] could show his talents straight away in a McLaren, whereas Adrian was suffering at the back end of the field with Spyker. He did not really get the chance to show his qualities, as the Spyker was extremely difficult to drive. But now he can show his full capabilities.
Vijay Mallya

Read more: Should Force India have Indian drivers?

49 comments on “Mallya wants competitive Indian driver”

  1. Mallya is right. Chandhok is just marginally better than Karthikeyan. And lets face it, Karthikeyan should not have been in motorsport, and definitely should never have driven an F1 car. I dont see any good drivers coming out of India though.

    1. Actually I think Chandhok has been quite good this year compared to Senna, and he’s the only one who you can compare him with because HRT are slower than anyone else. He hasn’t done anything stupud yet, so I wouldn’t say he’s bad.

      1. I agree, senna needs to up his game, if he’s to be as good as his name he needs to be destroying Chandhok

        1. Senna has consistently out-qualified him though, and often finished ahead of Karun (when his car has made it to the end)…

          Senna’s qualifying time in Monaco was over a second faster as well!

          1. The problem with HRT is they’re both rookies so it’s impossible to know how could they really are in a car that looks incredibly difficult to drive.
            It also isn’t as straightforward comparing the teammates as one may have issues; Monaco for instance Bruno was much quicker but Karun later confirmed that he had problems with his differential and that had cost a lot of time.

          2. No, Senna only finished ahead of Chandhok one time while Chandhok has finished ahead of Senna one time. Senna has finished two races and Chandhok has finished four. Even if Senna is a smidge faster, if you can’t bring home your car, it doesn’t matter, you still DNF.

          3. But Joe, Although I think Chandok has the upper hand, surely a rookie can’t be chastised for a unreliable car?

    2. Amjad Malik
      20th May 2010, 10:48

      I will forever remember the image of Karthikeyan having (probably) 3rd position in the infamous Indianapolis grand prix, behind the two ferraris after all other teams had withdrawan from the race due to a chicane issue. I guess he would have won the race if ferrari had withdrawan too :)

      1. sorry, but i think monteiro was third at indy.

        1. NomadIndian
          20th May 2010, 14:21

          Yeah monty was third…

          that pretty summed up Karthikeyan’s potential… He had one opportunityfor a guaranteed place on the podium and he could’nt beat his team-mate to it…

    3. the Sri Lankan
      21st May 2010, 0:47

      yep, i never rated Karthikeyan. its safe to say he was in F1 because of the money he bought rather than the talent.chandok is marginally better i think senna’s kinda demoralized given the fact that the HRT car is ideally the GT2 equivalent of F1

      1. I hope Chandhok sticks around for a while. Not only has he shown potential, but is one of the nices guys in the paddock.

  2. He wants an Indian driver, but for the likes of Karun, it has taken years for them to come up to this place. He isn’t helping the cause either. No Academy no nothing. And he isn’t offering a test drive either. Its like saying I want a scotch but I don’t like the taste. :P

    1. Isn’t offering a test drive? Paul di Resta has done more testing on Friday than either of Liuzzi or Sutil…

      1. To Indians, you know, Di Resta is a scotsman.

      2. I think Neil means Mallya isn’t offering his test driver role to an Indian driver (in the way that Lotus have a Malaysian test/reserve driver). Personally I have been impressed by Karun Chandhok. He has kept his head down and his spirits up despite having to overcome some pretty desperate circumstances. And he hasn’t been completely blown away by Senna as many (including me) predicted.

        Having an Indian driver in the test/reserve driver role is, in my view, the only way Mallya could get an Indian driver driving for Force India because, as Neil pointed out, there is no driver development programme in India.

  3. I think Karun has shown up very well compared to Bruno and also considering the start to the year he had.

    I would say he at least deserves a test with Mallya’s outfit.

    1. the Sri Lankan
      21st May 2010, 0:52

      in all honesty MAllaya is a ********. how dare he mock his own driver(sutil) and say he wants people like alonso in his car? here’s an IDEA: how about building a car that’s capable of taking the fight to FERRARI, MClaren or redbull before badmouthing your own drivers?

      1. Did you read the interview with Bernie and Mallya on that was the origin?

        What team owner would not like to have drivers of the calibre of Vettel and Alonso in his team? So when asked who of the current drivers would he most like to have, he picks these.

        Keith clearly states, that Mallya has praise for Sutil as well (even quoting) but has not had the possibility to show it, like Hamilton has, because of the cars he has been driving.

        Exactly as you say he should, he praises Sutil for coping pretty well with an undrivable Spyker and continues, to say that he has now built the team to make a competative car and it shows in the results.

        Hard to read the comments on the indian driver though. I suppose he has some problem with Karun Chandhok but at the same time feels pressure to give him a chance.

  4. People can say what they like about Chandhok. But he isn’t going to get any better lugging his HRT round the track is he?

    Like B Senna he does deserve a drive in a better car.

  5. Prisoner Monkeys
    20th May 2010, 10:24

    Well, I think Mallya is going to be waiting a while. A long while. There are only two Indian drivers who have ever been in Formula 1: Chandhok and Karthikeyan. The lower ranks are despressingly sparse of Indian drivers, unless Mallya is looking for a washed-up 36 year-old former Bollywood star currently competing in Formula 1

    1. Please, don’t call Ajit Kumar ‘former bollywood star’.

      Bollywood only refers to the Hindi film industry. Ajit has only worked in Tamil films, and isn’t a ‘star’ really.

      For the uninitiated:

  6. Both Karun and Senna have done well considering how bad their cars are and they had no testing.

    With interest in F1 rising in India and an Indian GP next year perhaps we will see a top indian driver emerge in the next few years.

  7. I’m sure I’d heard that Mallya/Chandok are aligned to different factions in the Indian Automobile Association (or equivalent)?

    As for Chandok, he has impressed in a car which is quite frankly not an F1-spec car and deserves a chance in something better (as does Senna)

    1. That’s true. Karun’s dad and Mallya are on opposite factions within the FMSCI. It’s not a big surprise he wouldn’t give Karun even a test drive.

      1. Really? What do they differ on?

        1. Keith. It is basically a fight for who wants the bigger piece of the pie !!! But if I am not mistaken, both Mallya and Chandhok’s father are on the same page. The latter is the VP of FMSCI, of which Mallya is the head.

          FMSCI is the older body while MAI is the breakaway faction. However MAI was the authorised body until 2008 when the FIA ratified FMSCI as the main body in India.

          Though the feud was in place since 99, I guess it heightened after Karthikeyan’s foray in to F1 which resulted in motorsports gaining huge popularity in India. Also Mallya’s full fledged entry into F1 must’ve contributed to the feud.

  8. I think Chandhok has done alright, I don’t think he’ll ever be champion though. Then again, it might be a long while before Force India are champions either!

  9. Robert McKay
    20th May 2010, 14:41

    It’s funny that Mallya can tell us that Sutil’s talents were hidden by a duff Spyker and that he only really was truly able to “show his qualities” once the machinery got better.

    Might there not at least be the same possibility with Chandhok?

    I mean, come on, it’s a bit double standards, regardless of your opinions on Sutil and/or Chandhok.

  10. Well people claim that “making” Lewis Hamilton was really easy, so why not just repeat that same thing again? Apparently it’s as simple as giving a kid some oportunities, pamper it a bit and … presto … a world champion driver is created.

    Would make a good movie too … “Slumdog F1 champion”

    1. LOL. It would actually make a great film. Star cast – Lewis, Nicole and Fernando Alonso as the villain. Id pay money to watch it.

      1. I might just have to make that in to a movie trailer…

      2. the Sri Lankan
        21st May 2010, 0:59

        ROFL…Fernando as the Villain…..

    2. does there have to be a “landing in a massive heap of poop” scene? *shudder*

      1. Hahahaha! Brilliant! :-D

      2. Substitute engine oil for poop and you have the defining scene for Slumdog F1 Champion!

  11. I think nationalism in general is really tiresome. :/

    But I suppose it has its marketing advantages.

    1. Couldn’t agree more. I just don’t get it.

    2. I agree mate.

      My favourite drivers have rarely been British, my all time top two are Brazilian (Senna) and German (Schumacher) while my favourite team are Italian (Ferrari).

  12. Force India did give Karun some sessions in their simulator, where I’m sure they would have compared his performance to sutil, Liuzzi and even di Resta…. and maybe they found out that Karun maybe needs to improve a little bit…. and also, they do have contracts with Sutil and Liuzzi, and I don’t think Force India will be giving up Sutil easily…so I don’t really think Mr.Mallya has snubbed Karun…let’s wait for a couple of years.

    1. Do you have some online postings to substantiate this?

      Last i remember is they invited karun for simulator testing but in the end canceled it.

  13. Sutil is not doing a bad job with the team, the team should concentrate with him & needs to make sure that they keep a long relationship with them.They need to the built the team around him just as Mclaren do with Hamilton Ferrari do with Alonso. I think they may have a Indian driver with them when the race will be held in India in 2011.

  14. No offence to Mallya’s way of working, but with few indian drivers coming through the ranks, and no assistance provided from Force India,

    A) He should grab Chandok by the horns

    and B) Why would an Indian who could fight for a championship drive for him and not Mclaren or Ferrari???

    I suspect there is a portion of eating your cake and having it too going on…

  15. Swap Chandok for Liuzzi.
    How can people say that Karun is a crap is beyond me.
    He is driving that **** on 4 wells pretty well.
    Only thing he can do is to defeat B Senna (lol at him) and he is doing it pretty nice.
    Get Karun now!

  16. I agree with you Mike.
    If there is an Indian Pilot who can compete with the front runner, surely he would not join Force India.

    just a thought…

  17. What about Karun Chandhok and Neel Jani? I know Jani is Swiss but his dad is Indian.

  18. Chandhok is doing much better in F1 than i expected,that too with a great attitude so far.As for Mr.Vijay Mallaya,ignoring and Indian born talent who has made to F1 already just shows his lack of acknowledgement of Chandhok.Strange at the least!!!

  19. main apne desh ka f1 driving mein naam roshan karunga , mujhe ek mauka dedo!

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