We can be proud of Force India: Mallya | india | Hindustan Times
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We can be proud of Force India: Mallya

india Updated: Oct 07, 2008 16:17 IST

Even though his outfit is the only one not to earn a point this season, billionaire Force India owner Vijay Mallya says the team has done the country proud.

The beer-to-airlines tycoon headed a consortium that bought the former Spyker team exactly one year ago and renamed it Force India for this season.

Hopes were high and it sparked huge interest in Formula One in the cricket-mad country.

The podium finishes have yet to be achieved but Mallya remains upbeat with three races left this year, starting at the Fuji Speedway here in Japan on Sunday.

"I am a great optimist," he told the official website, www.Formula1.com.

"In any situation there are positives and, even though you cannot gloss over problems, you really need to build on the good parts and make sure that the negatives are not repeated."

Asked what he expected from Japan this week, he replied: "The same I expect every time we go racing reliability, dedication, enthusiasm and passion.

"I understand it's difficult, but Formula One is so competitive now that you can't let your game slip for one second. Of course I'd like to see points, but let's be realistic."

Despite the failure of drivers Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil to make a mark, Mallya, who owns Kingfisher Airlines, said interest in India, which is expected to host its maiden Grand Prix in 2011, remained huge.

"When I announced our intention to buy the team, the TV audience figures exploded and print media went wild. I've never seen so many headlines on Formula One in India," he said.

"Normally cricket is the only sporting event that makes the front pages, but now it's also motorsport. I'm pleased to say that the interest has been sustained.

"The general public too has embraced Force India. We're here, we're competing on a world class stage and we are holding our own every Indian can be proud that we've done that."