Greater Noida, Oct 25 (IANS) Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn says the absence of a local driver is hurting the Formula 1 Indian Grand Prix.
Kaltenborn, F1's first woman team chief, feels India needs a driver as it would help in increasing the popularity of the sport in the region. She says solving only the administrative aspect is not enough for the long future of the race.
"The Indian fans need to see their own driver. Someone they can connect to. That is one big way of creating interest amongst the public," said Kaltenborn Friday ahead of the third Indian Grand Prix Sunday.
It is the first time there will be no Indian on the grid, Narain Karthikeyan having featured in the first two editions.
Acknowledging the uncertainty over the race's future, the Dehradun-born team boss said F1 needs time to flourish in India.
"We are yet to establish here. Three years is not enough, if you compare it to Europe, there we have certain heritage, where even if you don't go for three-four years, you can always comeback and connect," she said referring to India being dropped off the calendar next year.
Her team is fast catching up with Force India, who are struggling to hold their sixth place in the team standings. Seventh placed Sauber have jumped to 45 points with 38 of them coming in the last four rounds.
But Kalternborn refuses to take Force India lightly.
"We are doing good at the moment. The updates we got at Hungary have helped us. But would never underestimate any team because I have seen that if we have two bad races and team behind us two good races suddenly we are back where we were," she added.