Mallya is no stranger to controversy, neither is Narain. But the media has successfully orchastrated a death match between the two.
So here is what went down.
A few days ago, when asked about “An Indian driver driving for an Indian team” statement that Mallaya had made early in his F1 career, Mallya decided to conclude that neither Narain Karthikeyan nor Karun Chandok fit the bill.
In my F1 context, [Karthikeyan] doesn’t fit in,[Chandhok] is like my son, but I have not broken the professional rules of Force India F1 and announced in respect of Karun only because of my personal relationship.
In 2009, we are going to launch a comprehensive programme of driver identification and where we see youngsters with talent, Force India is going to pay all the way through to international karting, single-seater racing, GP2 and on to Formula One. I don’t think [Indian Motorsport Federation] FMSCI should concentrate on creating an F1 driver. FMSCI should concentrate on broad basing motorsports in this country. [Making an] F1 driver is my job as Force India F1.
While Karun happens to be Mallya’s friend, we do not expect him to make a statement, but Narain decided to. And in the process spilled a few beans and I’m sure connected a few punches.
I spent a frustrating time with Jordan, where I had a car that just could not perform. I have no desire to be with another pedestrian team that’s low on performance and loud on talk, I never even approached Mallya. The vibes from the camp have been extremely negative and I want to make it clear that I am not interested in driving for Force India.
Spyker offered me a drive in August 2007. I declined as the team was going nowhere, Except in F1, where machine matters more than man, I have won races in every championship that I have participated in.
Asked for his response to Karthikeyan’s comments, Mallya said: “Everyone is welcome to their views.”
And to help prove that Mallya is still a rookie, a few F1 experts sounded off on the issue (HT has the entire article).
Emerson Fittipaldi was on Narain’s side, saying
I disagree with the statement. A non-grand prix driver cannot give an opinion as to a driver’s abilities. When Narain drove in F1, he did not have a competitive chassis or technical package. He’s capable of winning GPs in a good car.
And big Berie was supporting Karun
The time is getting closer for F1 to be in India, which is something I am really enthusiastic about, and hopefully Karun will be part of it. His place is in F1.
And Narain’s former team mate Tiago Monteiro, who has in the past not had the kindest words for Narain, chimed in, albeit in a different tone
F1 is all about the car you are given. Give Narain a race-winning car and he will win races I can guarantee you
Bruno Senna supported Karun and Peter Windsor, the Ex Williams Manager did not have the kindest words for Mallya.
It’s amusing when people who have made a lot of money come to F1 and make such ridiculous statements. It makes one wonder how they ever made that money! There is absolutely no question that Karun has the ability to do well. He is at least as good as Adrian Sutil (present Force India driver).
And the icing on the cake for Narain, James Roberts from F1 Racing magazine
Narain was abnormally brave in his ability to stay committed in high-speed corners in that Jordan car. Over one lap he may actually be even quicker than (Giancarlo) Fisichella (present Force India number one driver). Karun is a great talent. I am surprised at what Mallya has said.
So will all the pundits, including bloggers like me taking the side of Narain and Karun, I can tell you that as it stands the Score is Narain / Karun 1 – Mallya 0.
What do you guys think?
And I can’t wait for Mallya to make a statement regarding this.