Reacting to Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone’s comments to
on ignoring Indian drivers, Force India part-owner Vijay Mallya on Thursday asserted that he would be offering Karun Chandhok a go in a driver simulator to gauge if he is ready for F1. “I have been discussing the issue with Karun Chandhok and have already agreed to put him in the driver simulator to see how he handles the F1 car. At the end of the day, Karun must win some GP 2 races and come out good in (the) F1 simulator in which I put him. And if he is competitive in the simulator, I would be the first one to offer him a position in Force India,” Mallya told news agency Press Trust of India.,
The fact is that a simulator is no way to judge precisely how a driver would perform in real life conditions. Chandhok, who has already tested an F1 car with Red Bull, does not sound too convinced.
“It’s nice to hear this but the reality is that they have got (Vitantonio) Liuzzi in the car and not me,” he says. The Chennai man is not waiting for Mallya to play Santa Clause and is already examining options with other teams. “We will know in three weeks if anything concrete works out. The aim is to be on the grid,” says his father Vicky.
A simulator is the virtual world and a glorified video game. “My objective is to be racing in F1 and not to be a simulator driver. Only if a simulator leads to a race seat would it be something to get excited about,” says Chandhok.
That the device need not test the true potential of a driver is obvious from the fact that many accomplished drivers cannot perform to their true potential in the artificial environment. Mark Webber and David Coulthard were not too comfortable with a simulator initially. “Lot of drivers actually feel ill in a simulator,” says Chandhok.
On the issue of an Indian driver for a team that poses as Indian, Mallya told PTI: “It doesn’t happen anywhere. That is why Ferrari didn’t have an Italian race driver till (Giancarlo) Fisichella went. From last year and this year, they had Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) and Felipe Massa (Brazil).”
Mallya confirmed that contractual obligations ensured Liuzzi replace Fisichella in Force India.