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F1 chief tells Mallya to do more for Indians

india Updated: Sep 09, 2009 01:19 IST
Sukhwant Basra
Sukhwant Basra
Hindustan Times
Force India

Force India’s persistence with foreign drivers has disappointed not just Indian motorsports fans but also the man who runs Formula 1.

Bernie Ecclestone is eager to see an Indian in a F1 car in the near future.

“I was hoping Vijay (Mallya) would give Karun (Chandhok) a chance,” Ecclestone told HT. “And I’m a little disappointed that he has put the Italian guy in… Whether he has to do this by contract I don’t know, but I would’ve liked to see Karun in the car for rest of the season.”

On Monday, F1 team Force India — part-owned by liquor magnate Mallya — picked Italian Vitantonio Liuzzi to replace Giancarlo Fisichella who has moved to Ferrari.

Ecclestone feels an Indian’s presence in the cockpit will help in the build-up for the proposed 2011 race in India.

“We need to get Karun in the Formula 1 car quickly,” he said. “And he has got the talent and the ability, so it’s a case of somebody just getting on and doing it now.”

On whether Chandhok — who competes in GP2 series, a notch below FI — is ready, Ecclestone said, “We haven’t seen him in a Formula 1 car to know but there’s no reason why he shouldn’t perform.”