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Indian drivers need to earn top F1 seat - Mallya

ESPNF1 Staff
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Force India boss Vijay Mallya currently employs Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta to drive for his team © Sutton Images

Force India boss Vijay Mallya says he cannot be expected to employ an Indian driver just because he runs an Indian team.

Just two Indian drivers have taken part in a grand prix, with Narain Karthikeyan making his debut in 2005 and returning with HRT this year and Karun Chandhok driving for HRT last year. However, at last weekend's British Grand Prix there were no Indian drivers after Karthikeyan was dropped for Daniel Ricciardo and Chandhok continues in his role as a Friday test driver for Lotus.

But Mallya says it is not his not his responsibility to give Indian drivers race seats in F1.

"To be criticised, largely by the Indian folks, that I don't have an Indian driver is I think just blatantly unfair," he was quoted by Reuters. "My only response to them would be that I know more about Formula One than they do.

"As far as the existing Indian drivers in Formula One are concerned, I can only feel very sorry for them. They are getting drives by the teams who clearly can't compete."

He added: "If Ferrari is on the podium, the whole of Italy applauds. If Ferrari wins a race, the whole of Italy celebrates. Nobody ever asks the question of where is the Italian driver?

"Why suddenly in India? Be thankful for the fact you have an Indian team, sporting the Indian colours on the grid to begin with. The Indian driver will follow but let's not put the cart before the horse."

Mallya is currently running a competition in India to find a potential future Formula One star. But he warned it was not an overnight process: "There has got to be good, raw talent in India and I am determined to go find it."