Force India owner Vijay Mallya has on regular occasions hit back at critics in his homeland who accuse him of counter-patriotism by refusing to put an Indian driver in one of his cars. His current line-up is taking the Silverstone-based team to solid results of which few thought them capable before the season. On Sunday Adrian Sutil, possibly the least Germanically-named German ever, finished an excellent sixth at the Nurburgring and got one over on likewise un-Scottish-sounding Scottish colleague Paul di Resta, who has been making him look a bit pedestrian recently.
Bluntly put: why would Vijay hire Indian drivers?
It’s a fairly wet argument anyway: If we were to urge teams to hire drivers based on their nationality matching their own then we’d have Red Bull having to look outside the current grid and fielding Gerhard Berger and Niki Lauda, two great drivers in their day but now more likely to be found in their local branch of Greggs than the gym.
Fernando Alonso would be reduced to driving for HRT alongside Jaime Alguersuari, while Jarno Trulli would gain a Ferrari seat alongside Tonio Liuzzi. One suspects there would be little grumbling of ‘power steering problems’ from then on, but only because the entire organisation would implode in a ball of poorly-directed passion within ten minutes.
Alex Yoong, as the only Malaysian F1 pilot I can think of, would end up in at least one of the two Lotus outfits or possibly even both, potentially having to pit halfway through a Grand Prix to change teams as well as tyres.
Meanwhile, Mark Webber and Daniel Ricciardo would be out of the sport unless they bought out Toro Rosso and renamed it something more Antipodean – Galloping Koala perhaps.
And Force India, of course, would end up with the only two Indian drivers to have ever graced the paddock.
Narain Karthikayan is more of a chicken korma in the cockpit than a lamb jalfrezi, and a quick glance at any photographs of him seems to suggest why. His daft facial expressions suggest that he is permanently stoned out of his mind.
Karun Chandhok got into F1 on the strength of his father scratching Bernie’s back (and looking at Karun, we assume his father has some very hairy knuckles with which to do the job properly) but was unable to get on top of his HRT teammate Bruno Senna in 2010 and was dropped for someone who looked like Mr Sulu in Star Trek. Some further itch-relief got him into the third seat at Team Lotus but any time he swings his hairy self into the seat he appears to think he’s filming a stunt for Top Gear and starts doing doughnuts into the advertising boards.
I think he’s in the wrong career: he speaks better, more eloquent English than most English people and also seems to have broken his FIA programming and developed a personality and a sense of humour along the way. He just isn’t right for F1, and neither is jingoism. McLaren excepted, of course.
For a non F1-related rave about why I loathe the parasitic scum that constitute London’s landlords, visit my rant blog here