Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Interlagos, 2018

Hamilton clarifies Indian Grand Prix comments following complaints

2018 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton has responded to complaints from fans following his remarks on the Indian Grand Prix.

Hamilton told the BBC in an interview he had felt “conflicted” about the race when it was held between 2011 and 2013.

“I’ve been to India before to a race which was strange because India was such a poor place yet we had this massive, beautiful grand prix track made in the middle of nowhere,” said Hamilton. “I felt very conflicted when I went to that grand prix.”

His remarks prompted a critical reaction on social media, many of which focused on his use of the word “poor”. Hamilton responded by clarifying his comments.

“I noticed some people are upset with my comment on India,” he wrote.

“First off, India is one of the most beautiful places in the world. The culture there is incredible. I have visited and always had an amazing time however whilst it’s the [fastest] growing economy it also has a lot of poverty.

“My reference was that a grand prix there felt strange to drive past homeless people and then arrive in an huge arena where money was not an issue.

“They spent hundreds of millions on that track that is now never used. That money could have been spent on schools or homes for those in need. When we did have the race, nobody came because it was too expensive most likely or no interest.

“However I have met some amazing Indian fans.”

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  • 92 comments on “Hamilton clarifies Indian Grand Prix comments following complaints”

    1. Good of him to clarify what he meant, even better he didn’t apologize (it wasn’t warranted).

      They spent hundreds of millions on that track that is now never used. That money could have been spent on schools or homes for those in need.

      It was privately funded by a real-estate group, who had hopes that the circuit would stimulate development in the area. So that point about the money having been used elsewhere for social benefit is a bit moot, as its up to the holders of the money who choose how they spend it (as opposed to government funds).

      1. I am Indian and that track doesnt seem to done anything to increase development in the area. Accessibiltiy and good hotels to stay near the race track were a big issue back then and I never ended up going to the race due to those issues. Also overall cost of attending India GP was almost same as attending Malaysian GP. He seems to have been misinformed about Govt. of India investing in track.

        1. Yep, since it was not publicly (i.e. government) funded by your tax rupees or mine, I’m not too bothered whether the developer achieved their broader goals for the region or failed at it.

      2. Sanctioned by the government and functionally the same. India is corrupt to its teeth and Hamilton is right about this. Wonder why he doesnt mention the other ~15 races on the calendar in similar situations.

        1. Because he knows a bit about the subject. He’s spent time on behalf of Unicef and Save the Children visiting deprived children and schools within the slums of India in the past. He’s been a speaker and a supporter of the Global Education and Skills Forum. And he has been a Unicef ambassador since 2012 visiting places like Cuba, Africa, Philippines.

      3. He definitely didn’t need to apologize. Lewis says plenty that he needs to apologize for, but this is not one of those times. India has A LOT of poverty, that’s a fact. Some extreme inequality that’s more palpable than in most countries. The fact is also that the track was built privately, a great facility. But due largely to obstructionism from the damn government, the project turned out to be an abject failure.

        India is not the poorest country to host a grand prix. There is definitely an audience for F1. But the old guard (Bernie) and Indian public officials conspired to kill this otherwise fantastic project.

        1. It wasn’t a conspiracy. The Supreme Court wanted F1 to pay entertainment tax to the country. Which Bernie/Jaypee Group didn’t want to.
          The SC had a simple argument, F1 comes to a country, puts up its banners, advertises itself, charges the venue for hosting the race, charges spectators to view the race, hosts the race and leaves. The country gains absolutely nothing from this; by this the SC meant, no development programs for new drivers, no CSR activities and basically in the SC’s view a circus that charged spectators to entertain them. Hence the SC said, the tax needs to be paid. Which neither the organizers nor Bernie wanted to pay. Hence it was decided that they shouldn’t host it in India.

          1. @hatebreeder yes, I meant “conspired” as in working together. That tax issue was #1 no clearly discussed ahead of time, the track was being built for over a year. #2 Bernie should have known as part of his due diligence. #3 When it was discussed, surely something could have been negotiated, but we were dealing with incompetence and greed on both ends. This GP could have been hugely bemefitial to both. It could have been saved.

            1. @ajpennypacker It wasn’t discussed in advance because other motorsport venues and domestic series had paid it without issue. (I do wonder if it was part of the reason the international i1 Series, that was meant to start in 2011, be 50% based in India, and never hosted a single round, failed).

              Bernie should definitely have taken it into account, but his argument was always that things like taxes were the responsibility of the circuit owners, part of the infamous question “Are you willing to lose millions of dollars a year for this?”

              #3 is on point.

    2. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
      15th November 2018, 12:26

      He’s spot on.

      I notice ALOT of indian fans on twitter just plain dislike Hamilton so the backlash isnt surprising.

    3. The instant I saw his comment I knew that he’d get a lot of stick but I had understood exactly what he meant. And he’s quite right, sadly. Its not that our country is poor, just that the distribution is quite uneven due to many factors. And a lot of our wealth was stolen from us by different invaders over the past millenium, and let’s not mention the particular country that did the most damage :)

      1. Oh boy did someone ask Hamilton to pay reparations for the British Raj?

      2. Sravan – despite the alleged stolen wealth, India has recently unveiled the world’s tallest statue, which cost 29.9bn rupees (£330m; $430m) to build. The 182m (600ft) high structure in the western state of Gujarat is a bronze-clad tribute to independence leader Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. So NO shortage of funds to lionise politicians. Did the UK invest any money in India – railways, civil service, public buildings, healthcare…?

        The UK has provided massive foreign aid to India; the poor seem not to have benefitted but India does have the bomb and a space programme.

        Priorities?

        1. @gnosticbrian India is Messed up after the Brittish/Mogul rule ended and the Muslims/Hindus where left to figth in a poor mans Battle royal. The foreign aid is pathetic in comparison.

          1. Gabriel – That wasn’t my point. India has choices. India has chosen to spend money of grandiose projects; India has seen the growth of massive wealth disparity; no one outside India forced those choices on India. To bl;ame events of the early part of the last century and even earlier is a cop out.

            By the way, have you seen today’s news? Do you think that the UK is not just as messed up?

            1. On the contrary everyone forced it upon them but otherwise i agree.

        2. Your first paragraph is exactly what I said in my comment.
          As for my last sentence, I just wanted to say that a lot of our wealth was stolen by many invaders and they also created a political situation that resulted in the divide that we have, along with other factors. :)

          1. @sravan-pe – your comment reminds me a lot of my own country of birth. The region was under Ottoman Turkish occupation / colonization for some 5 centuries, and despite having won independence 100+ years ago (after another 100+ years of perpetual bloody conflicts and uprisings) most people still blame the Turks for all the bad things in the country.

            The Government is corrupt – it’s the Turks fault. There’s garbage on the street everywhere – it’s the Turks fault. The unemployment is high – it’s the Turks fault. The crime rate is high – it’s the Turks fault. The winter is too harsh – it’s the Turks fault.

            And as long as it’s the Turks fault, and not ours, it’s all good, no need to change anything – the politicians can keep being corrupt, we can keep throwing crap everywhere, nobody should bother trying to solve the problems with unemployment and crime or clear the roads of snow in the winter, we’ll just curse the Turks! :)

            1. Spot on.

              Blaming white man is fashionable, but not a good substitute for taking action for positive change.

              BTW, I agree with Hamilton’s comments, and I am glad the response he got has brought out a clarification and thus prolonged the attention. But I don’t necessarily think it applies only to India.

          2. Sravan Krishnan look at Singapore, Israel , Japan or South Korea. All of them after being founded or being destroyed in middle of the XX Century got up and have prosperity. Or Germany by 1970’s per capita income was already above Britain after less than 30 years of being destroyed in WW2.

            Choices societies, cultures do. 50 years is enough to change.

        3. India defence spends is below 2% of the economy. Niether does India go invading and pillaging nation. Infact its a good lesson for India to look after its security so that we dont loose our wealth and dignity once again. And about space you need to educate yourself about the benefits of space programm for a nation. We save alot of money by launhing our own satellites, which in turn helps in remote sensing , knowing weather patterns for the region for agriculture and disaster management. Plus all the young pioneering engineers and young scientists who dont have to leave the country to aspire and learn about space.

          And about the statue, its a tourist attraction. India doesnt need aid from UK, as states before, the aid is peanuts. You should petition your govt to stop the aid cause we certainly don’t need it from you.

          But we do have a score to settle ;)

      3. That country gave India the railways and the postal service. Be grateful for somethings at least. If that had been left to Indians, because of the inherent corruption in India, there would not have been a railway or postal service worth talking about, and, before you break your keyboard trying to reply, I am Indian, I lived in Chennai for 10 yrs and I now live in that country. They did many unspeakable and unforgivable things, but some things are thanks to that country.
        Indians are not stupid (India sent a spacecraft to Mars orbit -if i’m correct – on a quarter of a NASA budget I was told) but very corrupt, otherwise India would had a bullet train,hydrogen train, among other things. The money is there but the bane of India is politics and politicians, and corruption.

        1. because of the inherent corruption in India

          @macradar
          Let me inform you that the dire situations that we face these days is the very reason people indulge in corruption. Clearly you do not have enough knowledge of the history of our country now that you’ve called us “inherently” corrupt. Maybe you’re one of those people who think India was formed in 1947 and didn’t have any scientific knowledge or a working governance before that.

          Be grateful for somethings at least.

          Yes. We are grateful. It’s just that without invasions we’d have done just fine. Most likely better than we do right now. And did technology like that not find it’s way into countries that weren’t colonized? Japan, hello! A tech supergaint these days.
          According to you the railways and postal service deserves applause and the harm they did to us is of no significance in comparison.

          Now to get things clear, we have no intention to dwell in the past. People who did terrible things to us is long gone and there’s absolute harmony between most countries and India, and that definitely includes the UK. Maybe still many people hold a bit of a grudge but I’m not one of them. However, although we don’t dwell on the past, we haven’t forgotten it either. We’ve learned the lessons we had to. We are trying to build this country to its past glory again, without of course, any intention of violence in our mind.
          Btw why did you leave Chennai, brother?

          1. “Without invasions” yeh good luck with that alternate history. Name a country that hasnt been invaded countless of times. India wasnt exactly a free and functional country before the brits came.

            Japan for reference was colonising other countries just the same as the brits.

            1. India wasnt exactly a free and functional country before the brits came.

              Yeah right.

            2. Gabriel, from your comment I can deduce that what you know about Indian history is dangerous……..british textbooks are bastardized versions of the truth (if you are british) but this is a F1 website so I will leave it at that. For now I want to celebrate that Lewis is F I V E times DWC and I just want to enjoy the moment. Living in the UK I can tell you how deafeningly silent the BBC is on his accomplishment. News and history are not always the truth or the reality.

            3. @rethla

              India wasnt exactly a free and functional country before the brits came.

              Why don’t you give us a history lesson on the pre Moghul era in India .. oh enlightened one.

            4. @todfod You want some tasty Alexander the great tales?

            5. @macradar
              Im swedish and i think your deduction is wrong but i agree lets leave it at that.

        2. Railways weren’t built for India, they were simply built and all pointing to the nearest ports so all the goods could be taken by ship back to mother country.

          Anyway, though I respect Hamilton massively, I feel he dropped the ball on this one. Saying he felt conflicted that he had to drive past poor people, but racing in Bahrain amidst protests for human rights and being mum about it, was hypocritical. Still, its a free world, and people are entitled to have their opinions, however they are. He hasn’t caused anyone harm. He just stated something. If it is not something you appreciate, you should simply turn the other way.

          1. I agree with you Hatebreeder. I believe though that Lewis made an innocent observation based on how he sees India and that it touched him seeing the poverty when the money COULD have been better used, but then, money is more often than not rarely used for better but purely for profit.

            It reminds me of an old Indian Cree Prophecy.
            “Only when the last tree is cut, the last fish caught and the last stream poisoned, will man realise that he cannot eat money.”

      4. I am sorry, but Britain is not the cause of Indias issues. Britain took value out of India but also built infrastructure that allowed India to prosper. You may view the British Rule as a bad thing but that has nothing to do with current corruption. Britain still gives aid to India despite India seemingly able to afford a space program and a Nuclear Weapons Program and a large military.

        1. but also built infrastructure that allowed India to prosper.

          We’d have done just fine without whatever you mean by infrastructure.

    4. It wasn’t a goverment effort, but that doesn’t mean he’s wrong. I’ve had that discussion before, when Argentina wanted to return to the calendar. It’s sending the wrong message… hosting a race like that, the playground of billionaires, when down the road people don’t even have potable water, you know? forget about the potential publicity of the country, considering how F1 is, it’s all volatile, it could last just 2 or 3 years and it’s not something that returns to the people that easily. If it’s private, it’s just benefits to the organizer, if it’s a goverment effort, they better use the money differently.

      I’m glad Hamilton clarified his comments and didn’t hold back. He’s right.

    5. Frankly good on him to clarify, but I thought the way he first presented his point was pretty clear.

      1. I agree and he’s correct. There is always going to be somone who complains though.

      2. He needed to make a 2nd statement to confirm that he stands by what he said and wasn’t misunderstood. Good on him! It’s good to see someone stand up for what they believe in a world of lies and “political speak.”

        I think the same with Verstappen and Kimi – it doesn’t matter if you agree with what they say. At least they say it as it is. It’s rare these days.

    6. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
      15th November 2018, 13:20

      I’m glad he hasn’t backed down on this, good on him to make his feelings known. I’m also a bit sick of governments and regimes spending millions of pounds on vanity projects when they have much more important issues closer to home like widespread poverty and poor healthcare.

    7. what a tool. he should have just stuck to what he said. His explanation/apology basically repeated the original comment. Hamilton = PR slave.

      1. I think he kind of did. It seems an explanation not an appology.

      2. a tool @marciare-o-marcire ?

        “he should have just stuck to what he said”

        “His explanation/apology basically repeated the original comment.”

        Hang on! Isn’t that exactly what he did? How can you say he should have stuck to what he originally said and then call him a PR slave for doing exactly that? Your whole comment is a complete contradiction.

        1. @tom I’m saying he didn’t have to explain anything at all (demonstrated by the fact that the original comment and subsequent explanation are saying essentially the same thing, hence no explanation was necessary), but he felt the need to explain because… he’s a PR slave.

          1. @marciare-o-marcire
            He clarified because some people obviously thought he meant the whole country was poor. Not wanting to get flamed for a misunderstanding doesn’t make him a PR slave.

    8. Good, now we’ll be sure that all drivers keep on the PR script.
      Hamilton should follow Verstappen’s: That is too much controversial to comment.

    9. AFAIR, (have to do a more comprehensive search) locals and farmers were displaced to build the circuit, there were also protests.

      1. IIRC.. they were paid rather handsomely for their land.
        @budchekov

        1. @todfod @budcheckov It was a compulsory purchase deal backed by government enforcement. As far as I know, both of you are right (they were compensated for forcibly being moved, but some didn’t want to move at any price).

    10. My reference was that a grand prix there felt strange to drive past homeless people and then arrive in an huge arena where money was not an issue.

      Ironic when he just came back from Sao Paulo, where you can see that contrast by crossing a street.

      1. You wont have to go for to see it in Abu Dhabi either but you will probably be stopped before getting there.

      2. +1 Spot on!

        If Lewis is really seeing this then F1 should be hosted only in developed countries.

        Hope he didn’t see say anything after Vietnam GP

        FYI in india F1 is considered as ENTERTAINMENT not a SPORT.

      3. Think he’s visited the slums of Sao Paulo on behalf of Unicef and Save the Children in the past. But to be fair, Interlagos is hardly a state of the art facility either.

      4. @warheart Sao Paulo is probably the one venue that always looks as if money is an issue, and otherwise fits into its (highly unequal) immdiate landscape” so perhaps less jarring than the usual “Tilke-drome landed from outer space in a random field” feel.

    11. First things first, the Buddh circuit is not a government funded project. The Jaypee group (a private firm) has invested $400mln it’s construction and development. It’s not like every bit of tar used on that track would have fed a hundred mouths. The funds used in the construction of the circuit has zero impact or correlation to funds that could have been used by the government in eradicating poverty.

      As a fellow Indian, nothing annoys me more than a bunch of clowns living in the comforts of their developed nations and deciding what should be morally acceptable in poorer or developing countries.

      There is poverty in India. There is a wide gap in income distribution. We have one of the most corrupt governments in the world. In addition, we have the world’s largest population, which compounds the severity of every situation. There’s no quick fix to a situation like that. Does that mean we cannot be a part of a Global event?

      I wonder what people in the UK, US, Europe etc think we should do from a moral perspective. Should we sit around and mope all day? Should we donate all our money to the poor? Should we refrain from watching Formula 1? Should we refrain ourselves from any sort of entertainment? Refrain ourselves from being a part of the Global / Sporting community? Should people who can afford some luxuries in life, deny themselves those luxuries just because some citizens of a developed country get upset by it? Why on earth do we have Amazon, Netflix and other luxury services in a country where people are dying of hunger everyday? We should cut ourselves off entirely from the world till we can get our sh 1t together.

      India has F1 fans, just like the rest of the world does. We want to watch a race, just like fans in every other country do. We take pride in hosting a global event like that despite the dire situation our country is in.

      Brazil has an appealing rate of poverty as well.. but does anyone complain about when the Football World Cup is hosted there? Maybe we should keep sporting events for developed countries only, until all the developed countries can eradicate poverty.

      1. point well made! but I still believe …………………..where there is a will………….

      2. …. but wasn’t Hammy’s comment regarding his reaction to the situation, not that F1 should not got there, or that India should be excused. How are the ethics of such a comment not well placed? Are you arguing for the status quo then? How is this “ethical colonisalism” as you seem to be suggesting.

        1. He implied that F1 shouldn’t be in countries like India. He used his sob story of feeling conflicted on the way to the circuit to highlight his point

          My point is that regardless of the socio-economic condition of a particular country, they should be entitled to the same level of inclusion in sporting events… Which includes hosting a Grand Prix there.

          1. I don’t see where he said India should not have a race. He said it’s strange to see abject poverty juxtaposed with an icon of wealth and access. We can all agree that it’s jarring to see that contrast. It’s jarring to see hordes of homeless people in the subway station portico a block from the White House grounds too and that is the U.S. People can and do comment on that too. The obvious implication is not that the race is cancelled, but that the poverty is alleviated. Everyone wants that, even though it is uncomfortable to talk about inequality in your own land.

            But, as an immigrant to the developing world, I can also understand why it’s frustrating to hear privileged people from former colonial powers marveling at poverty in the parts of the world struggling to recover from being ruthlessly dominated and having their labor and resources and even their art works extracted for the benefit of others.

      3. Good comment mate..well said.

        As I said it my comment yesterday, F1 would have been utterly stupid not to have pushed for a race in India. The segment of society that is classified as wealthy does not add up to an insignificant number, which was ripe for tapping. Sure the majority of the country would not have been able to afford tickets, perhaps even know what F1 is…but as you say, the same applies to the likes of Brazil, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Abu Dhabi, Mexico as well.

        F1 is a sport that is catered to the wealthy, and this is applicable to all regions. A single parent in (let’s say) Dallas working two jobs to keep the lights on, probably isn’t going to attend the US GP in Austin, let alone watch it on TV.

      4. While I do not disagree with everything you are saying. The World cup is a vastly different issue. It has the ability to drastically increase tourism and business opportunities etc. It is a month of extremely high profile exposure and attracts large numbers of visitors (The world cup in Brazil attracted something like 1 million extra visitors) many of whom will spend their tourist cash at various places around the host cities. Then they get an audience of over 3 billion viewers all looking at Brazil. F1 in India visited for a 3 days per year and attracted around 65,000 spectators for race day. Many of these will have spent their money at the track and gone home. The TV audience is paltry compared to the word cup.

        1. We’re not talking about viewing figures are we? We’re talking about whether sporting events should be held in poverty stricken countries. I don’t see how the World Cup is any different than hosting an F1 race.

          The construction of the F1 track generated employment in India, the same way Brazil benefited from an influx of tourism during the World Cup. Both countries gained something with hosting an event. So why discriminate one vs the other?

          Heck, not only is there poverty in Brazil, but F1 personnel get mugged every year at Sao Paulo, yet Lewis seems to be fine and dandy with that situation. But he feels conflicted during his stay in India.

          Maybe if Senna was born in India, he wouldn’t feel that conflicted.

          1. The event itself is very important in the debate. The building of the track in India pales into comparison to the building of stadia and infrastructure for a world cup.

            However I am not arguing that we should not hold F1 in India. I am just putting some perspective on your post.

            For a start Indias poverty issues are not because it is a poor country but because it chooses not to spend its money on looking after its people… We could argue the same thing for Russia and that also has the issues of severe human rights issues on top of its crazy policy to the rest of the world… I would argue that we should be holding an Indian GP over a Russian GP.

      5. +1. Spot on. Succintly put.

    12. Brazil’s severe poverty is an exception.

    13. His remarks prompted a critical reaction on social media

      There’s not much you can say without the Narcissist Twitter idiots twitching into a critical frenzy.

    14. “but does anyone complain about when the Football World Cup is hosted there?”

      Yes

        1. @todfod
          Yes there are countless articles about the corrupt world cup in Brasil. You have to be ignorant to not have seen anyone.

          1. The same is true for the Olympics.

    15. A country where millions live in poverty but millionaires use island tax havens as loopholes. Where corrupt politicians and businesses sell the country down the river and even the most skilled must work for a mere Freddo a day. Why won’t Hamilton speak out about the British GP?

      1. Because your “freddo a day” is luxury compared to India.

        1. @rethla

          We don’t have Freddo’s in India. But thanks for the update on what we consider luxuries.

            1. @rethla

              What that we’re so backward and less developed that we don’t have Freddos? Have you ever visited a developing country in your entire life? Or you just an air chair expert who’s been through wikipedia pages for your history lesson.

            2. @todfod I get it. You are from India and who am i to say your country is anything but perfect?
              There are crimes against humanity going on there and im not gonna be silent about it just because you for some nationalistic reason feels personaly insulted by it. I stand by Hamilton.

            3. @rethla

              There are crimes against humanity going on there and im not gonna be silent about it just because you for some nationalistic reason feels personaly insulted by it. I stand by Hamilton.

              There are crimes against humanity in most countries in the world… And that has little relevance to our discussion of hosting sporting events in countries facing such issues. You’ve steered way off the point from discussing hosting F1 races in India to just throw your condescending stabs at a country.

              I’m glad that you live in a country that claims to have a near perfect society. Good for you to have that privilege. You’re making great use of it by sitting in your high chair and making snarky comments about countries struggling to get to a first world status. I can guarantee you I’ve done more for the lesser privileged in my country than you will contribute towards humanity in your entire lifetime, yet, you have the arrogance to know better and criticise citizens of a country like it’s your birth right.

              Take a bow Gabriel. Take a bow.

            4. @todfod
              I wonder who is steering off point here…. If you read what i said you will find we have a very similair point of view appart from you thinking im not eligible to have a point of view. Utter nonsense.

            5. @rethla

              Nowhere have you mentioned, even once, whether India deserves to have a race or not. There’s no viewpoint on it at all. All you’ve mentioned in previous statements is that India is corrupt, inhumane, poor, dysfunctional etc.

              We certainly don’t need you reminding us of that. We live with it everyday.

              Say something valid to what we were actually discussing instead of sharing your general knowledge of India on an F1 fan site.

            6. @todfod
              Im not reminding you of anything. I think its a travesty theres a racetrack for billionares and slums next to it, what the article is about. Dont worry, sweden doesnt “deserve” a race either because we cant afford it.

            7. I think its a travesty theres a racetrack for billionares and slums next to it, what the article is about.

              @rethla

              The race track is not for billionaires. I’m not a billionaire… but I went there to watch the race in 2011 and 2012. If you can’t get the fact in your head, that there is a massive part of the not so uber rich people who also appreciate the sport in India, then this entire conversation is pointless.

              The problem is that you’ve never been to India, or ever understood the vast reality of the situation here. You’ve been reading your news highlights and think you know better than people who actually live in the country. Your moral compass guides you to say “No race in India till poverty is eradicated”.

              You have no idea how ridiculous and unfounded your statements sound. There is zero logic or any substance to it whatsoever.

      2. Beacause Britain has more money per capita, so the conversation would change from “why host races in moderately wealthy nations?” (a question that looks potentially debatable) to “why host races anywhere except the USA, Canada, China and a handful of European nations?” (a question that looks ridiculous to all but the most hard-bitten debaters).

    16. For me, the annoying part is that after all the ”wasted money’ as Hamilton put it, the track has been abandoned after one race. Shouldn’t the FIA or whoever allocates tracks have more responsibility.

      1. @Anju It managed three races, and if anyone in governance, it’s the Indian ASN that is responsible for the allocation of domestic races. Even then, FIA regulations prevent it from subverting the will of race/series organisers – about all it could do would be to encourage people to consider staging races there. Which is difficult for a track 60 km from the nearest city and possessing few decent public transport links. (India has a lot of wealthy people, but a lot of racing fans either don’t have their own cars, or use them for limited purposes and not necessarily to explore potential new hobbies).

        The FIA certainly isn’t in a position to order any commercial promoter to use particular venues (beyond requiring that they meet FIA standards for what is provisioned to given types of series)- that would contravene a settlement with the European Commission dating back to 2000.

    17. Hamilton’s second part of comment about no attendence is right. Brazil shares proverty issues but there are enough fans to support the event so it’s considered one of the most important GPs.

    18. It all boils down to the ignorance of the diva. He thinks no end of himself.

      Just to put things in perspective.
      1. India is the fastest growing economy and has made great strides since 1990’s
      2. Sportsmen who have bare minimum education and general awareness – like Hamilton tend to go by common perception that India is still a land of snake charmers and people ride elephants to go out.
      3. The success story of Indians in foreign lands have tended to be understated – It is a fact that at least 4 Mega Corporations (Google, Pepsi, Microsoft , Adobe) are headed by Indians – who thrived on the Indian education system to move ahead to head these organizations.

      1. Yet it was that ignorant diva Hamilton as a Unicef and Save the Children Ambassador who was invited to visit some of India’s poorest areas by the Indian Government back in the day; not you. Go figure?

        Odd that you tell us it’s the fastest growing economy with some pride. Yet you seem to have a problem with Hamilton telling millions more that just a few days ago. Or were you ignorant of that fact?

        As a long term investor in India lets hope the success continues. Work hard!

      2. Great strides, but let’s be perfectly honest, the vast, vast majority of Indians live in poverty. India has a Gini coefficient of 135, right between Kiribati and
        Cambodia. That would be nothing to brag about. India has made much economic progress, but you can talk about progress and talk about the work on the table at the same time. Hamilton is not wrong to talk about either of those things, in isolation or together. This is not some kind of game where Indians need to rack up statistical credits or VC funds for individual Indians to be respected as a people. And for colonial peoples, this is a fool’s-errand anyway.

      3. Sridar, those four bright sparks could not find a job in India for that kind of salary but their talents were recognized abroad.
        This Diva with his bare minimum of education negotiated his own contract with Mercedes and Tendulkar I understand did not finish 10th standard.
        Try and make an intelligent argument.

        To all on this panel defending India to the death, please tell me why animals are so abused on bullock carts in India. I saw this for ten years of my stay there and I could not believe the unbelievable cruelty to animals in India. Don’t tell me me about other countries. As a person of Indian origin I am talking about India. I have seen depravity in India that I have not seen in many parts of Africa.
        I suppose the British taught us how to be cruel to animals or maybe the Moguls or maybe the chimpanzees in Africa?
        I love India with all my heart but I cannot reconcile myself with what I see there in terms of mans inhumanity to man and the shocking treatment of animals

        Just comment on F1, for anything else its best to keep quiet. Jay Hind!

    19. This is how the British have always talked about India to the world, and Lewis Hamilton is no different. First they traded with India an learnt all her vast pool of knowledge and took it back to their masters. Then, with a havoc in their mind, they captured this land of the Gods with their guns and the poison they sowed in the heart of India to make brothers kill brothers, the brainwashing of masses and removing cultural links in that time of conflict, looting its core and destroying her long sustained intellectual superiority in the name of modernity.

      India remembers her bloodshed, red, red of the red bull that Vettel rode to victory thrice and knew how to bow down before the Beast, as is done with sanctity in India. Not everyone has the ability to respect another culture like that, and we cheered as Vettel displayed his Dharma on the soil of Bharatvarsha . He may not come from a big city like Hamilton, and that he is a boy of the soil is what makes India loves him back all the more than for Hamilton.

      And this is the reason I regret that so many Indians sacrificed their lives to make Britain win their wars.

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