Force India has kicked off proceedings with its own driver academy – Hunt for 1 from a Billion – launching in Mumbai this week.
In partnership with ExxonMobil, the scheme aims to identify and nurture home-grown Indian talent by providing them with a clear career path up the motorsport ladder and towards the ultimate goal of Formula 1.
Over the course of next month, the team will stage several karting trials for ambitious drivers between the ages of 14 and 17 to strut their stuff. The top racers from each round will progress to September’s National Finals before the best ten drivers are taken to the team’s Silverstone headquarters for the grand finale.
The best driver will be presented at the inaugural Indian Grand Prix in October.
“The setting up of the Force India F1 Team Academy is a historic milestone in the sports arena in India,” Force India’s founder Vijay Mallya is quoted as saying.
“It marks the first time ever that anyone has embarked on such an ambitious programme to create a pool of talent and groom aspirants who show exceptional promise, by providing them the necessary corporate funding and support backed with a crystal-clear professional career path in motorsport so that, one day, they can go on to represent India in the international arena and hopefully bring glory to the nation.”
Despite the team’s Indian identity, it is yet to run an Indian driver since its debut season in 2008. However, Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok have both made appearances on the Formula 1 grid as the country’s national drivers.
[Images via Force India]
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