Former F1 champion Sir Jackie Stewart insists that India would benefit more from an increased number of karting tracks to encourage youngsters to become involved in motorsport, rather than from having an F1 standard circuit.
The Buddh International Circuit
played host to its maiden F1 race at the weekend as the sport hit Indian soil for the first time, while it was revealed prior to the race that a second Indian circuit capable of hosting an F1 race could be built in Mumbai [See separate story HERE
However, speaking to the Times of India
, Stewart – who laid the foundation stone to the first Indian race circuit near Chennai more than 20 years ago – admitted that having an F1 facility didn't automatically mean that stars of the future would be born, and said it made more sense to invest in karting circuits which would help the sport at its roots.
Thus far, Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok have both graced the F1 grid.
"I came to lay the foundation stone for the first track here,” he said, “and now with this F1 race happening, it shows how much India has progressed in the last few years. Two Indians have also featured in F1 and that is also a sign that things are heading positively.
"[However] Look at the current Indian drivers here. Narain is old now and after him and the other lad Karun, there is not much of depth in the talent pool. No one is knocking at the doors of F1. For a country to produce more quality drivers it should have a huge talent base from which the best come out to fight abroad.
"For that to happen, India should have more karting tracks, not big F1 circuits, so that more kids come into racing and then you will see an increase in the number of quality drivers coming out of here."