Force 'should have chosen Chandhok'
F1 supremo Ecclestone disappointed that home driver not given chance by Force India.
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2009 09:11 GMT

Chandhok's progress to Formula One has hit a brick wall [GALLO/GETTY]
Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone says he is "disappointed" that Indian driver Karun Chandhok was not chosen to replace Giancarlo Fisichella at Force India.

Having the 25-year-old GP2 racer in the cockpit would boost the build-up to India's inaugural Grand Prix race in 2011, Ecclestone said.

Force India team principal Vijay Mallya instead chose reserve driver Vitantonio Liuzzi to replace the Ferrari-bound Fisichella.

"I was hoping Vijay would give Karun a chance," Ecclestone told the Hindustan Times on Wednesday.

"And I'm a little disappointed that he has put the Italian guy in.

"Whether he has to do this by contract I don't know, but I'd have liked to see Karun in the car for the rest of the season."

Liuzzi will race for the first time since he drove for the Red Bull-owned Toro Rosso team in 2007, starting with his home Grand Prix at Monza on Sunday.

Bumpy ride

Formula One is having a bumpy ride in India, with sports minister Manohar Singh Gill dubbing it more entertainment than sport, while refusing certain duty exemptions for the company building the track near New Delhi.

"We need to get Karun in the Formula One car quickly," Ecclestone said.

"And he has got the talent and the ability, so it is a case of somebody just getting on and doing it now."

Indian liquor and airlines baron Mallya bought into the Spyker manufacturer two years ago and renamed it, but avoided the temptation to install an Indian driver by ignoring Narain Karthikeyan, who became the first Indian Formula One driver in 2005, as well as the young Chandhok.

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