New Delhi, Aug 31: Just after the Sports Ministry brushed aside F1 as 'entertainment', Force India's Giancarlo Fisichella claimed Force India's first-ever pole at the Belgian Grand Prix and team owner Vijay Mallya is all set to take on the ministry for denying racing the status of being a sport.
Baffled by the sport ministry's stance on racing, Vijay Mallya questioned, "How can they say that Formula One is not sport?"
"When hundreds of millions of people worldwide follow it as a sport, what makes them believe otherwise?" Mallya was quoted as saying in a news agency report.
Pointing out that Formula One is the most watched sports in the world apart from Olympic Games and World Cup soccer, Mallya said it was unfair that Formula One is not considered to be a sport.
Earlier, the sports ministry refused a grant for F1 races to be held in India citing that racing was not a sport and that it would not have any impact on Indian sports. This came as a response to JPSK Sports' request for getting approval for remittance of 36.5 million dollars required for organising F1 grand prix in 2011.
"F1 is not purely sports. It is entertainment and this venture by JKSP is a commercial initiative," a ministry source said, adding that it did not satisfy conditions which focus on human endeavour for excelling in competition.