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Home > India > Sports > Formula One > Reuters > Report

India will find a home-grown Hamilton, says Mallya

May 02, 2008 21:26 IST

India will produce a Formula One driver like Lewis Hamilton [Images] one day but it will take time, Force India team owner Vijay Mallya [Images] said on Friday.

Asked in a team interview whether he was actively looking for an Indian driver or Indian personnel, the flamboyant billionaire said he simply wanted the best regardless of nationality.

"I have no doubt that in a population of 1.2 billion people we will find a Lewis Hamilton somewhere, but this will take time and experience," he added.

"That's why we have Giancarlo Fisichella at the moment, but we are willing to invest in finding Indian talent and nurturing him or her to the highest levels."

McLaren's Hamilton took Formula One by storm in his rookie season last year when he finished overall runner-up, a point behind Ferrari's [Images] Kimi Raikkonen [Images].

The 23-year-old Briton, Formula One's first black driver, started this season by winning in Australia and was third in Spain last weekend.

Ferrari-powered Force India, formerly Spyker, have yet to score a point in their four races but Italian Fisichella finished 10th in Barcelona.

Mallya said that result had lifted the team's spirits but qualifying remained a disappointment, with neither Fisichella nor German team mate Adrian Sutil managing to break out of the slowest group.

"We haven't dropped back but we do need to sort out our qualifying pace, which is our Achilles' heel at the moment," he said, looking forward to Turkey next week.

"This is just the start for us though. Nobody expected us to be as competitive as we are. We've been on the grid for little over five months and look how far we have come.

"No-one expects miracles but the fact we have qualified in the top 17, the fact we finished in the top 12 in Bahrain and Malaysia and now in the top 10 in Spain shows we are a genuine midfield contender now, not a backmarker."

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