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Force India needs an Indian

entertainment Updated: Sep 30, 2009 18:00 IST
Rahul Sabharwal
Rahul Sabharwal
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

One of the fastest men behind the wheel in India, racing driver Karun Chandhok confesses he took up the sport because ‘it was a family thing’. “My granddad used to race, and so did my father. You can call it our family business — that’s something that people identify with in our country,” he laughs.

Ask him if Force India’s recent performance is a matter of pride for India and he starts off, “It’s an achievement for the team. But then, apart from Vijay [Mallya] himself, there’s no Indian face in that team. So people feel it’s a commercial enterprise. By having an Indian driver; it can make more of an Indian team. People connect more with an individual rather than an entity — like there are more Lewis Hamilton fans than McLaren fans.”

That said, Chandhok, who was in Delhi for a Clasus event, does admit he would love to be a part of the team. “Vijay is a friend. I’d love to join them. And it’ll be good for the country — an Indian driver in an Indian team, especially with the Indian grand prix coming up in 2011.” And what about the Sports Ministry not granting F1 a ‘sport’ status? “It’s the opinion of one man in one government. The rest of the world believes otherwise.”