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Mallya Vs. Narain – War of words errupt.

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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.

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  • Frankly, I think this is quite unnecessary from both sides or it is just the media trying to ask the same question a zillion times until Mallya says that the real reason Narain is not a part of my team is coz he sucks!

    Harish, I have to agree with you. But there is a slight twist. The media has decided to twist Mallya's words into something that sounds better. The guy said, and I paraphrase, that Neither Narain nor Karun fit into the scheme of things right now.

    Which is a very true statement from Mallya's point of view. He recently signed an agreement with McLaren and there was talk (and I'm sure will surface again) that McLaren will get to pick at least one driver for the team. If this were the case, I highly doubt that an Indian driver will fit into their plans.

    For Narain, he is a little old to get in to F1 - establish himself - move up the ladder to the best in the business - win a race - win the title. I highly doubt all this can happen in quick time unless he gets to drive for a good team (BMW,Redbull,Toro Rosso) right from race one.So, I agree with what Narain has said and atleast for now I am with him on this issue.

    Very very true. Narain is a good driver. He went places no one else did. And for him to give results he will have to be with a good team. With the rule changes, we might see a bunch of lower rung teams finish in the points, but for a sustainable career, Narain needs a front running team, which from my grasp of the sport is not possible right now.

    For Karun, he is young and if he has some luck and talent(ofcourse he does!) he might as well go on with atleast a few of what I mentioned above. So he better concentrate on that and learn not to do the same mistakes as Narain!

    As far as Karun goes, as long as he does well this year in GP2, he has a very good shot at getting himself into a good team. Red Bull are one of his sponsors and they have 2 teams. So changes are much brighter for Karun.

    For Mallya, he also has a long way to go. He certainly would have wanted a better start, but as things stand he needs more than a miracle(McLaren engine?!?) to get in to a performing/result oriented team in the coming season. Infact, having an Indian driver could certainly turn out productive atleast from a financial/advertising perspective and could also help to promote the sport in India.

    This year might be it. With a lot of rule changes and slower cars, FIF1 might find itself with a few points. But we will know as the season progresses.

    Also, thanks for posting these articles dude. There is not much of a coverage on these in the Indian media! Keep up the good work.

    Thanks Harish. We write about things we love and it's nice to know that there are others out there who appreciate what we do.

  • Harish

    Frankly, I think this is quite unnecessary from both sides or it is just the media trying to ask the same question a zillion times until Mallya says that the real reason Narain is not a part of my team is coz he sucks!

    For Narain, he is a little old to get in to F1 - establish himself - move up the ladder to the best in the business - win a race - win the title. I highly doubt all this can happen in quick time unless he gets to drive for a good team (BMW,Redbull,Toro Rosso) right from race one.So, I agree with what Narain has said and atleast for now I am with him on this issue.

    For Karun, he is young and if he has some luck and talent(ofcourse he does!) he might as well go on with atleast a few of what I mentioned above. So he better concentrate on that and learn not to do the same mistakes as Narain!

    For Mallya, he also has a long way to go. He certainly would have wanted a better start, but as things stand he needs more than a miracle(McLaren engine?!?) to get in to a performing/result oriented team in the coming season. Infact, having an Indian driver could certainly turn out productive atleast from a financial/advertising perspective and could also help to promote the sport in India.

    Also, thanks for posting these articles dude. There is not much of a coverage on these in the Indian media! Keep up the good work.

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