The indifference shown by the majority of India’s deep–pocketed corporates towards Formula One has baffled team bosses who expect them to warm to the sport following the success of last weekend’s inaugural Indian Grand Prix.
The teams are mostly happy with F1’s newest hosts and believe they have chanced upon a huge untapped market in one of the world’s fastest growing economies.
“We wanted to also attract Indian companies and it is surprising that there are not many, as yet, in F1, although from the financial potential they are very much capable of doing it,” Sauber chief executive Monisha Kaltenborn said.
India–born Kaltenborn at least got local dairy brand Amul on board for Sunday’s race.
“We did try hard and we succeeded in getting one of India’s prestigious owned brands with Amul.
“I think we will continue with that now. An event like this is the best platform, that’s where we can present ourselves and show the companies here what F1 is about,” she said.
Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost said teams could not afford to ignore “markets for the future” like India.
“...it is very important for Formula One that we are racing in India, that we go to these new markets that are interesting and important for the future, like India, like China, Russia, the Arabian area, South America.”
That would require a change in perception among the cricket–biased corporates in the world’s second most populous country.
“It has already changed, I think,” claimed Force India owner Vijay Mallya.
“Look at Sahara’s investment in Force India. Look at the investment of (Indian Grand Prix title sponsor) Airtel.”
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