Force India Confirms Young Drivers Programme
And the latest team to adhere to such driver-finding techniques is Force India Mercedes, whose owner Vijay Mallya confirmed earlier this week that a new “Hunt for 1 from a Billion” programme has been launched in his native India, with the aim of nursing motor racing talent in the country.
Several cities in India are targeted for the scheme (7, to be more precise), which will see drivers from 14 to 17 years of age have a chance of driving go-karts and qualify for the National Finals. From all contenders, only the Top 14 (judged by their fastest times in the regional qualifiers) will make it to the Finals, alongside two wild-cards.
The 100-driver Finals will take place in India sometime in September, and the Top 10 finishers there will earn a spot in the UK Silverstone Finale. They will be announced during the inaugural Indian Grand Prix, scheduled between October 28-30, in New Delhi.
After benefiting from driver tuition, media training, and other motor racing activities at Silverstone, the Top 3 in the Finale will be rewarded as follows:
- The ultimate winner will be put through a full season of racing in a competitive UK championship
- The first runner up will go on to race in a full season of racing in a competitive Indian championship
- The second runner up will benefit from a programme of karting tuition at a suitable location in Asia
“The setting up of the Force India F1 Team Academy is a historic milestone in the sports arena in India. It marks the first time that anyone has ever embarked on such an ambitious programme in India. Our goal is to create a pool of talent and groom aspirants who show exceptional promise by providing them with the necessary corporate funding and support,” said Mallya.
“I hope that this Academy will give young Indians, who have the necessary passion and drive, a serious chance to show promise and an opportunity to excel, so that we can develop their talent and grow it by channelling it properly over the long-term. If the Academy is able to place even one Indian on the F1 grid, then all the effort would have been worthwhile,” he concluded.