Mayank Grover recently spoke to former President FMSCI – Vicky Chandhok.
Vicky Chandhok is currently the Chairman of FMSCI – Race four wheeler and Karting commission & a high-profile personality in International motor sport.
Chandhok Sr. shares his views on motor sports with readers @ sportskeeda. ……..Vrooom…..
Mayank – Let’s start with India’s biggest hope in F1 today, Karun Chandhok. What do you expect from him in 2010 as a motor sports official & how do you balance that with your expectations as his father?
Vicky Chandhok – Karun has done India proud as a GP2 racing driver, when he won the Belgian GP & hence the Indian national Anthem was played for the 1st time on an F1 weekend. It was a very satisfying moment & I feel very proud as well!
Mayank - You are a former National Rally Champion .What does it take to make that kind of mark in India?
Vicky Chandhok – One thing you have to accept here is that Motor racing is a very expensive sport. I was fortunate that our family was into motor racing workshops & related business. My father (Indu Chandhok) was the founder of Federation of Motor Sports Clubs in India & Madras Motor sports Club. So, I had the infrastructure to use our own workshop facility for my racing ambitions. We used to work past midnights daily. It definitely requires tremendous hard work but also needs an access to some funding to go the distance.
Mayank - Refueling ban in F1 this year means that lightening fast pit sops for tire only changes. The fastest four-tire pit stop in F1 was 3.2 seconds – who will be first to break that record, and just how quick can they get?
Vicky Chandhok – 10th of a second between top 10 teams for tire only stops, best guess.
Mayank – The 2010 season has a world champions’ crowd -Schumacher, Alonso, Hamilton & Button. Who would you say has the best chance?
Vicky Chandhok – Ferrari are looking exceedingly strong. Alonso is amongst the best all round packages as a driver. Mercedes have Michael Schumacher- who is the fittest man on this planet & you can’t write him off. It’s a difficult call between Hamilton & Button. Vettel included, there are 5 guys who are capable of a championship win this year.
Mayank – And of course there are 2 worthy challengers – Rosberg & newbie Kamui Kobayashi.What do you think about these boys?
Vicky Chandhok – You will definitely see these guys in individual races but the championship contenders should be the 5 drivers that you mentioned earlier. I do think that Rosberg & Webber would be out there on the podiums frequently.
Mayank – A three day F1 event brings in around $75 million injection into the local economy. Is the F1 track in India going to be success?
Vicky Chandhok – The track in India will be ready for next year‘s Grand Prix. I have personally visited the site as I am representing Bernie Ecclestone (F1 management) to oversee that the track gets completed to F1 standards. I believe that the circuit will be ready well in time & will bring do wonders to the local economy.
Mayank - Some guys in lawn chairs are ready to strangle F1 by saying-“It’s not a sport”? Does it manage to shake you when you get caught in discussions with such remarks?
Vicky Chandhok – Each person is entitled to their own opinion. I call it motor sports; they can call it a toast. That’s the beauty of a democratic set up! It’s too bad if they can’t see the effort & the sporting angle that goes into Formula 1.
Mayank – Bernie Ecclestone once said “This is the worst deal I have done to date,” about the Turkish GP. Does that worry you about our F1 track in India?
Vicky Chandhok – One advantage we have in India is that we a population of 1.2 billion. So, a hundred thousand spectators should not be an issue!
Mayank – Back home @ at MRF Chennai event, Parthiva Sureshwaran was imposed a 10 second penalty for not attending the pre-race driver’s briefing. Do you view there is a scope for a change in some rules or is this the basic discipline that drivers have to be trained with?
Vicky Chandhok – He is a very senior driver with a international professional license & should be well aware of the code of conduct. The regulations are very clear- If you miss the briefing session, you’ll be excluded from a race.Parthiva was cross at the officials whereas I would say he was lucky to get away with a 10 second penalty. Drivers should not push the officials and there would be no negative publicity on either side of the sport.
Mayank – What is the appropriate age level to start training for a career in professional racing? My son is 4 yrs old, does he need to start worrying already?
Vicky Chandhok – You should give him another 3 to 4 years. If he can start at the age of 9 in Junior Karting, I think that would be the ideal time. In India, karting is still not professional enough but it has still come a long way from what it used to be 10 years ago.
Mayank – Finally, how many times do you think the Indian National Anthem will play in Formula 1 this year? Or should we wait till next week for you to answer that?
Vicky Chandhok – (Laughs) Yes