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Force India announce academy

ESPNF1 Staff
April 12, 2011 « Horner praises Webber performance | »
Force India want more Indian drivers to follow Karun Chandhok and Narain Karthikeyan in to Formula One © Sutton Images
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Force India has launched the Force India F1 Team Academy in order to try and find a future Indian Formula One driver.

The team is looking to build on increased F1 interest in the country, with the first Indian Grand Prix due to be hosted at a new purpose-built track outside of Delhi later this year. It today announced that it had set up the academy to provide young Indians with the opportunity to forge a career in motorsport.

"The setting up of the Force India F1 Team Academy is a historic milestone in the sports arena in India," team principal Vijay Mallya said. "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. Our programmes will provide a clear professional career path in motorsport so that one day our selected candidates are able to represent India in the international arena and hopefully bring glory to the nation."

The first aspect of the project is titled "Hunt for 1 from a billion", commencing later this month, and will allow children between the ages of 14 and 17 to drive a kart for reduced prices around the country. From these the fastest will be selected to go on to national finals, before ten are chosen for a week-long training stint at Silverstone. Three winners will then be announced at the Indian Grand Prix in October, with the overall victor receiving a full season of racing in the UK before having their career guided through the 'Future Champions Programme'.

Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok are the only Indians to ever compete in Formula One, and Mallya said that the academy will have been a success if it can add to that number.

"The Force India F1 Team Academy was conceived with a vision to inspire young Indians who have talent but have so far had no proper opportunity or serious platform to showcase their innate abilities. 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."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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