Dr Vijay Mallya has vowed to put an Indian driver in Formula 1 within five years – rather confounding the theories that Karun Chandhok is to be given his top flight break with Force India in 2010.
Whilst some have suggested Chandhok – preparing for a third and final season in the GP2 Series feeder category in 2009 – is almost a shoe-in for a drive at the Silverstone-based squad at some point in the not-too distant future, family friend Mallya has hinted that there may not be a home-grown talent on the grand prix grid for a number of years yet.
Another name that has been linked to an eventual berth at the former Spyker concern is ex-Jordan Grand Prix and Williams ace and current A1GP star Narain Karthikeyan, who has made no secret of his desire to return to the pinnacle of international motorsport.
Force India F1 chairman and Kingfisher Airlines billionaire Mallya, however, seemed to offer neither of the pair much hope of a fast-track into the uppermost echelon anytime soon – if even at all.
“I have committed that Force India will identify and groom an Indian driver to eventually participate in Formula 1 through national and international karting and GP2,” the 52-year-old told news agency CNN
. “I hope to achieve this over a period of five years.”