'India needs more infrastructure to produce F1 champ'
Formula One might have made its debut in the cricket-crazy nation with the inaugural Indian Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit but the country needs to build more motorsports infrastructure to produce world champions, feels legendary driver Sir Jackie Stewart.
The three-time world champion (1969, 1971, 1973) Stewart said India need to give more emphasis to the grassroot level to produce champion drivers."You need to have more motorsports, more circuit to get drivers. You need to build more infrastructures," Stewart said.
"You have lots of young people playing cricket but until you have lots of young people in motorsports you can't produce champions," said Stewart, who was nicknamed 'Flying Scotsman' for his daredevilry during his hey days.
Image: Sir Jackie Stewart
'It is a first-class circuit'
Referring to iconic Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, who was present with his wife Anjali and daughter Sara at the Buddh International Circuit here for the race, he said, "This man standing here started his career at the age of 16 and that's how he became a champion. You need to have more carting (in the country)."
Stewart, however, gave thumbs up to the brand-new BIC and said there is money in India for motorsports but it should be utilised in the right way.
"It is a first-class circuit. Presently, one of the best in the world. But you (Indian drivers) need to have more money to go to Europe to develop skills," the 72-year-old said.
Whitmarsh against idea of 3 cars per F1 team
Formula One Team Association (FOTA) Chairman Martin Whitmarsh is not in favour of teams fielding three cars in the Grand Prix, saying it may destroy the smaller outfits.
At present 12 competing teams can field a maximum of two cars but big teams such as Ferrari have been pushing hard to have three teams.
Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo had even suggested sarcastically that smaller team should go to compete in GP2 if they do not have the money.
"We have a duty to support the sport and the teams. It will probably destroy the smaller teams. Red Bull McLaren, Ferrari, and may be Mercedes can possibly do it, but if we manage the sports badly, the number of teams may drop to eight," Whitmarsh said.
"There should be sustained business for all teams," he added.
Image: Martin Whitmarsh
Photographs: Getty Images
'Spectators want to see good racers'
It was reported that FOTA was discussing the idea with FIA.
FIA boss Bernie Ecclestone had also reportedly shot down the proposal. When Michael Schumacher was to come out of retirement in 2009, Ferrari was keen to have him as a third racer but they could not do it due to regulations.
Montezemolo had argued that spectators want to see good racers and there was no point in having slow drivers and teams, which just brought up the rear.
There have been disputes between FOTA and FIA, the sport's governing body, and FOTA had also threatened to start a breakaway series but Whitmarsh said they are in right direction to solve all issues.
"At no time FOTA suggested breakaway series openly. The sport needs to be managed well and the teams need to cooperate. We have made progress but not good enough. Talking it openly will not be helpful," he said.
FIA and FOTA have fought over regulations, particularly the budget cap of 㿔 million.
Photographs: Getty Images