Force India team boss Vijay Mallya has said that criticism from Indian fans over the lack of a home-grown driver within his team is unfair.
The Silverstone-based team currently runs German driver Adrian Sutil and Brit Paul di Resta in its two race cars, with another German driver – Nico Hulkenberg – in the role of test and reserve driver.
Although both Karun Chandhok and Narain Karthikeyan have raced in F1 in the past two seasons, the pair have lined up with backmarkers Hispania and Mallya said he couldn't be blamed for the fact that their efforts to make it in the sport hadn't been successful.
"To be criticised, largely by the Indian folks, that I don't have an Indian driver is I think just blatantly unfair," he told 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...
"If that's what they want to do, drive a Formula One car for the sake of driving a Formula One car and winding up at the back, I can't do anything about it. There has got to be good, raw talent in India and I am determined to go find it."
Mallya has already taken steps to try and help Indian talent make it to F1 through his new 'One in a Billion' initiative, which will aim to take a young Indian driver through the motorsport ranks to F1.
However, aside from that proposal, Mallya said more credit should be given for the way in which he helped India have a presence in F1 both through his F1 team and through the addition of an Indian Grand Prix to the calendar later this year.
"I have been involved in Indian motorsport for over 30 years. I have done whatever I could reasonably to promote the sport in India," he said. "And I take some credit for the fact that I put an Indian Formula One team on the grid, which nobody believed could ever have happened.
"I think there will be explosive growth in the popularity of Formula One after the Indian Grand Prix. So I have done my job for my country, for the hundreds of millions of young, aspirational Indians in terms of Formula One."