Bernie Ecclestone has rejected team owner Vijay Mallya's claim that an Indian driver is not yet ready for formula one.

Bernie Ecclestone has rejected team owner Vijay Mallya's claim that an Indian driver is not yet ready for formula one.

Indian billionaire Mallya, who owns and runs Force India, wants a countryman at the wheel of his car but for the moment has ruled out both Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok.

He said that Karthikeyan, who raced with the Silverstone based team (then Jordan) in 2005, "doesn't fit" his criteria, while Chandhok did not sufficiently impress this year in GP2.

But F1 chief executive Ecclestone, who plans to add India to the grand prix calendar in 2011, disagrees.

"The time is getting closer for F1 to be in India, which is something I am really enthusiastic about, and hopefully Karun will be part of it," the 78-year-old told the local Hindustan Times.

"His place is in F1," Ecclestone added.

Karthikeyan, who as recently as last year was a test driver with Williams, was not mentioned by the British billionaire.

 

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