Ecclestone 'disappointed' Liuzzi to replace Fisi

Bernie Ecclestone thinks Force India should have replaced the Ferrari-bound Giancarlo Fisichella with an Indian national. The F1 chief executive admitted recently he had hoped India, one of the world's burgeoning economies, would have become...

Bernie Ecclestone thinks Force India should have replaced the Ferrari-bound Giancarlo Fisichella with an Indian national.

The F1 chief executive admitted recently he had hoped India, one of the world's burgeoning economies, would have become more involved with his sport.

Ecclestone, 78, clearly attributes India's lack of corporate interest partly due to the fact Force India has so far fielded foreign drivers.

And with Fisichella departing to Ferrari for the last five races of 2009, boss Mallya has decided to replace him with another Italian, the team's reserve driver Vitantonio Liuzzi.

"I was hoping Vijay would give Karun a chance," Ecclestone told Hindustan Times.

The Briton is referring to the Indian Karun Chandhok, a 25-year-old who races in the support series GP2 and has tested with Red Bull Racing.

Ecclestone said of Force India's billionaire boss Mallya: "I'm a little disappointed that he has put the Italian guy (Liuzzi) in. Whether he has to do this by contract I don't know, but I would have liked to see Karun in the car."

He hopes India can stage its inaugural Grand Prix in 2011, and believes having Chandhok in the Force India would have boosted that prospect.

"We need to get Karun in the Formula One car quickly," said Ecclestone. "And he has got the talent and the ability, so it's a case of somebody just getting on and doing it now."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Karun Chandhok , Vitantonio Liuzzi , Bernie Ecclestone
Teams Ferrari , Red Bull Racing , Force India