The Vijay Backhand!

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Vijay Mallya

Force India boss Vijay Mallya has responded to A1GP Chairman Tony Teixeira’s comments that force India is setting the wrong example by not hiring an Indian driver. If memory serves correct, this is probably the highest profile comment Vijay has made publicly since starting Force India.

The press release:

“I am amused by the comments of Mr Teixeira, promoter of the A1GP series, on how Indians should view motorsport in general and Force India’s participation in the FIA Formula One World Championship in particular.

Mr Teixeira is better advised to comment on his native South Africa and his self-styled World Cup of Motorsport that is nothing more than a standard single seater series. Trying to reach out to India’s youth by encouraging participation in and the temptation of winning a title in a series that does not even begin to compare with GP2 or F1 is just promoting mediocrity amongst young Indians who aspire to be World Class.

This, indeed, is a wrong message which seems to be an act of desperation given the huge and growing support for Formula One and the Force India Formula One team.

I am sure that Indians could win so-called World titles at B or C grade levels of any sport quite easily but competing at the very highest international level is not only a matter of pride but proves a Nation’s ability to participate and do so.

The Force India Formula One Team is the first-ever Indian entry in the FIA World Championship and has harnessed international resources. This cannot be commented upon as being negative given that the Indian National Cricket Team has long had foreign coaches, the best of Indian Technology Companies have harnessed international resources and the much celebrated Tata Nano car has imported components. For that matter the World Champion Ferrari Formula One Team has Brazilian and Finnish drivers and is no less Italian in the process!

As far as Mr Teixeira’s comments on how the Ferrari association with the A1 series will stimulate interest, perhaps I should remind him that Force India F1 cars are also powered by Ferrari engines.

I question Mr Teixeira’s competence in speaking about the aspirations of our Indian youth and what message should be sent to them in the context of Motorsport. Perhaps I should remind Mr Teixeira that my companies reach out to hundreds of millions of Indians each day through our products and services and we are not only better informed but equipped to meet the aspirations of our youth. And I certainly will not tempt them with mediocrity or false pretences.

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10 Comments on "The Vijay Backhand!"

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Noddy93
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Noddy93

I’ve been hoping you’d comment about this… even if my thought’s didn’t include a 14-inch advertisement for the university of fenicks online….

let it be known that I support Vijay 100% in this opinion. i will be purchasing (and wearing) a Force 1 India hat.

Negative Camber
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That makes two of us.

WonkyDave
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WonkyDave

By Teixeira’s way of thinking, Eddie Jordan should have had Irish drivers and Irish engine/chassis combinations. Dublin and New Delhi are known for many things, but F1 champions and cars aren’t anywhere near that list.

Lucas S.
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Lucas S.

I back it as well.

Lucas S.

Mark H
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Mark H

Evidently Mr. Teixera has been following the Honda/Super Best Friends saga closely. A well timed, thought out criticism against Force India there.

ummmmmm…..

Negative Camber
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well, there was that Derek Daley guy Dave. Sheesh! Oh, and did everyone forget about our man Ralph Firman? Eddie did have an Irish bloke driving for him.

The point is well taken though and as far as national team hires national driver goes; i think Tony’s case may have been better made if he suggested that a national team would create even more buzz and marketing opportunities with a local driver as well. That being said, Enzo didn’t really see that as a big deal did he?

onthepodium
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onthepodium
glad you posted this NC. i saw it the other day too. i think mallya’s response is measured and to the point. a very appropriate response to teixeira’s comment. i’m convinced mallya will slowly but surely bring force india to become a serious mid-field competitor. not sure how long it will take, but there is wisdom and a wealth of management experience with this guy. whether it’s with indian drivers or not shouldn’t matter. i’m sure a competent indian driver will come in the next few years. he/she may not be the number one driver, but mallya will make that… Read more »
Negative Camber
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I agree. I must say that for once I am slightly encouraged by Mallya and don’t feel this may result in another Spyker or Midland-type team.

I will say that Vijay was probably a little high-handed in his comments but I think it’s just his style. Not too mention people generally don’t react to this type of criticism very well. All things considered, A1GP should get on with their program and prove they are not as Vijay suggests; a B or C level competition.

WonkyDave
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WonkyDave

If Mallya decides to bring Indian drivers into his team, I hope he doesn’t follow the path of certain Japanese teams that brought in drivers with tons o’ money, but without a clue of how to actually drive. He should actively persue the best drivers he can afford, regardless of their nationalities.

Derek Daly… sheesh!

ohthepodium
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ohthepodium

you’re right NC, his response was pretty terse, but consdiering the comments he was replying to, kind of justified. he was bascially being told he’s not setting a good example for is country. that’s pretty major.

clearly, mallya takes F1 seriously, and doesn’t like being told otherwise. he’s dedicated to putting india on the map of F1 and in my opinion, has done a very respectable job so far. responding to criticism is part of the job. it sets the tone for team.