Force India chairman Vijay Mallya is baffled by the sports ministry's stand against the 2011 Indian Grand Prix and wonders what prompted it to say that Formula One is not a sport as such.
Talking to PTI from Spa-Francorchamps, where Giancarlo Fisichella finished second in the Belgian Grand Prix to win Force India's first Formula one points, Mallya said he was completely stunned by the sports ministry's observation.
"How can they say that Formula One is not sport?" he asked.
"When hundreds of millions of people worldwide follow it as a sport, what makes them believe otherwise?" a miffed Mallya said.
"Formula One is the most watched sports in the world, of course outside Olympic Games and World Cup soccer. So it's really unfair if someone says that Formula One is not a sport," Mallya said.
The 2011 Indian Grand Prix ran into rough weather with the sports ministry denying JPSK Sports, promoter of the event in India, approval to the remittance of $36.5 million to Formula One Administration in UK.
Adamant sports ministry officials maintain Formula One does not have the social relevance of an Olympic sport and they refused to give their nod to the transaction, which comes under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) because it's not desirable.