Mallya to test Chandhok in F1 simulator

Karun Chandhok will be given tests in Force India's driving simulator but team boss Vijay Mallya denied he is under pressure to fast-track an Indian national to the Formula One grid. F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone this week said he was ...

Karun Chandhok will be given tests in Force India's driving simulator but team boss Vijay Mallya denied he is under pressure to fast-track an Indian national to the Formula One grid.

F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone this week said he was disappointed Mallya decided to replace the Ferrari-bound Giancarlo Fisichella with another Italian, Tonio Liuzzi, rather than give India a boost in the form of promoting Indian GP2 driver Chandhok.

Team owner Mallya responded on Thursday by revealing that Liuzzi's contract as reserve driver meant he had to step up to replace Fisichella.

He also told the PTI news agency that Force India doesn't need to have an Indian driver at any cost.

"Bernie obviously recognises vast potentials in India and that an Indian driver in F1 will probably, I say probably, make the sport more popular in our country. So one cannot find fault with his comment or desire," said Mallya.

"The entire issue has got too dramatised," the billionaire added. "I have been discussing the issue with Karun Chandhok and have already agreed to put him in the driver simulator to see how he handles the F1 car.

"At the end of the day he must win some GP2 races and come out good in the F1 simulator. And if he is competitive in the simulator, I would be the first one to offer him a position in Force India," Mallya said.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Karun Chandhok , Bernie Ecclestone
Teams Ferrari , Force India