Finding the fast and the furious

confident Nico Hulkenburg

India’s very own Formula One team, Force India, which has been plagued by the question of the nationality of their drivers, plans to change this with the hunt for a Formula One driver from India. The ‘Hunt for 1 from a Billion’ will kick off on April 25 and culminate in October, just before the Indian Grand Prix. This hunt was launched recently and Vijay Mallya, Chairman and Team Principal, Force India Formula One Team, was present at the function along with the Force India F1 team academy.

Mallya spoke about motor sports and its history in India and his F1 aspirations. On being asked about the disinterest of parents in racing, he said, “There are a lot of kids in India who want to be racers but parental consent is a must to participate in this sport. And many parents keep contacting me about their children though I am not sure from where they get my number or mail id. So I believe there are many who have the full support of their parents to pursue this sport.” He added, “The intention is to groom the winner through various stages leading up to a point where he or she would be ready to apply for a super license from the FIA to drive in Formula One,” he added.

Also present on the occasion was racer and the face of Force India, Nico Hulkenberg. Having been on the tracks since he was ten years, he said natural talent was the greatest requirement for a budding racer.

“A lot of young kids are enthusiastic about the sport and I am really happy to see that. Racing is a highly competitive sport and as a racer, other than for talent you also need to be physically and mentally strong. You also should speak English as it is the mother tongue of the game,” he said.

The hunt will identify and train young racers between 14 and 17 years of age. They will be selected via a go karting programme which will happen in seven tracks across the country.

 The ten selected finalists will undergo a week-long initiative stint at Silverstone, UK, after which, three winners will be announced at the time of the Indian Grand Prix.

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