Spyker bidder wants Indian driver in Formula One

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London, Sep 11: Indian businessman Vijay Mallya said today he wanted to bring an Indian driver back into Formula One once he takes over the struggling Spyker team.

''An Indian team with an Indian driver would be the ideal combination,'' he told the official Formula One Web site (www.formula1.com).

''In the future I will look very carefully into our karting championship to identify talents that can be developed into potential candidates for the team.'' Mallya has teamed up with Spyker's director of Formula One, Michiel Mol, to make an 80 million euro offer for the Dutch-owned team. The deal is due to be completed by the end of the month once due diligence has been carried out.

Narain Karthikeyan drove for Jordan, the British-based team bought by Midland and then sold on to Spyker last year, as the first Indian Formula One driver in 2005. Karun Chandhok is currently competing in the GP2 feeder series.

However Mallya said it was too early to say whether either would be chosen.

Spyker's current line-up is German rookie Adrian Sutil and Japan's Sakon Yamamoto.

INDIA NAME

Mallya, the chairman and controlling shareholder of the beer, spirits and airline UB Group, has been a sponsor of Benetton and Toyota.

Mallya said he would want the team to have India in its name and would have no problems in approving a bigger budget to make it more competitive.

''There are people waiting in line now with their cheque book in their hand trying to partner with us,'' he said.

''And when we announced that the Indian flag would be part of the team colours and logo, there was an explosion of excitement romping through the country.'' The billionaire entrepreneur added that the team would continue to build their cars rather than buy them from another constructor, a change allowed under the 2008 regulations.

''I analysed the situation and there was a fundamental issue: Spyker is a constructor team and all new teams that possibly will come into existence in 08 are not constructors,'' he said.

''I clearly wanted to be a constructor.''

Reuters
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