Vijay Mallya Q&A: The biggest race in Force Indias history 26 Oct 2011
After three decades of waiting, Vijay Mallya will see one of his dreams come true in New Delhi this weekend as India hosts its inaugural Grand Prix. Mallya and his Force India team are confident of putting in a strong performance in front of their home crowd, so he has every reason to be excited
Q: Dr Mallya, the big day is almost here, the very first Indian Grand Prix in Delhi. How proud are you to see India host its first race?
VM: I have been involved in motor racing for over 30 years and its one of my greatest passions. I brought the first Formula One car over to India in the 1980s and it was always a dream of mine to one day see this great nation host a Grand Prix. So this weekend is a very significant moment and Im extremely proud. Its a major step forward for Indian motorsport and for sport in general in our country. We are all looking forward to it immensely.
Q: Is it fair to say this is the biggest race in the teams history?
VM: Absolutely. This is a very important weekend for Force India and we are all determined to be as competitive as possible. I want to savour every moment of what will surely be one of the most spectacular events of the season and the start of a great Formula One tradition in India.
Q: What do you think this race will do for the popularity of Formula One racing in India?
VM: There is already great interest in Formula One in India, but having our own race has created a real buzz and will take the sport to an even wider audience. As soon as the ticket sales were announced, people were clamouring to buy them. Hosting the premier racing series in the world is a great privilege and there is great excitement throughout the country.
Q: Earlier this month you announced the teams partnership with Sahara India Pariwar - what will this mean for the team going forward?
VM: This is yet another great milestone in the history of this team. The Sahara Group brings fresh investment and Saharasri Subrata Roy Sahara shares my vision to push the development so that we continue to compete effectively with the teams ahead of us. The Sahara Group has played a very important role in the development of sport in India and is an ideal partner to help us achieve greater success in the future.
Q: This weekend you will present the winner of your one from a billion young driver hunt. How pleased are you with the way this programme has progressed?
VM: I made the decision to begin a driver hunt in India about 18 months ago. It was a massive undertaking to hold open trials in seven cities, but I was delighted by the quality of the drivers who came along to show their skills. Last week the top ten youngsters visited Silverstone to complete their final assessments based on driving talent, fitness and media training. There can only be one winner, but all of them showed dedication and hunger during the trials and can be very proud to have made it so far in the competition. Going forward we have some promising kids who we will support as they try to build careers in motorsport.
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