OllieF1
Tony Teixeira Is Sending Out The Wrong Message

Tony Teixeira Is Sending Out The Wrong Message

I’ve just read this article on Autosport, which in essence is about India’s participation in motor sport, primarily Formula One and A1GP, for which Tony Teixeira is the chairman of. Teixeira talks about Narain Karthikeyan, so-called the fastest Indian in the world, and his success in the A1GP series. Karthikeyan has raced in Formula One before with Jordan, but due to the instability in the team and the eventual changing of hands to the Midland group, Narain didn’t get another chance to show his worth in the sport. But racing with the Indian A1GP team, Karthikeyan has given the country it’s first win in the series and continues to promote the sport in his home country. And it is promotion that Teixeira feels Formula One team Force India are getting wrong.

Force India is in fact the same team that Karthikeyan drove for back in 2005, although it has changed hands a few times since. Currently, Indian businessman Vijay Mallya owns the squad and has invested much needed funds into the development and improvement of the team. Only last weekend did the outfit show off their new motor home in the Spanish paddock, equaling the already impressive McLaren Brand Centre located next door. Considering the difference in budgets the two teams run on, the new-and-improved image is certainly a strong statement.

But A1GP’s chairman doesn’t feel the team, which does have ‘Indian flavours’, are sending out the right message to the millions of Indian fans who cheer Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil at the races.

The Force India thing, although great for India, is a little bit negative in terms of youngsters and getting them to race if you are never going to win a race.

It’s the wrong message. I think Vijay is trying to set something up which is a long-term plan but it’s not the right message having Force India and non-Indian drivers.

I don’t see Force India winning a race in F1 for the next five years. Tony Teixeira.

From that, I would suggest Teixeira wants the message to be something like ‘It’s not the taking part, it’s the winning that counts.’ Or, ‘If at first you don’t succeed, count your losses and give up.’ Honestly, that is exactly what went through my mind when I read those quotes from the A1GP boss. Of course winning is important, but it was Tony who mentioned children in his quote. Had he been talking about grown men and women then obviously it is all about the winning. And be it far from me to suggest to someone how they should run their team or racing series, but attitude is very important, as is persistence, determination, and waiting a little while (ie. more than four races) before judging. These are my own personal beliefs, I hasten to add, but polite, patient and respectful they certainly are.

The whole article seems to read as a ‘big-up’ for A1GP, and perhaps the comments about Force India were just to draw attention to himself and the series. There was also a small part about the Formula One team not running an Indian driver, but this is easily rebutted with performance reasons. If Mallya could find an Indian driver with the experience and capabilities of Fisichella, I’m sure he’d sign them up – it would be a marketing dream for the squad. Alas, I can only presume Mallya believes Karthikeyan, or any other Indian driver, is not at that level just yet.

India will almost certainly become a major force in international motor sport in the future, and it is the intention to hold a race there next season. But instead of slagging off the efforts of Mallya and his team, surely he should be praising their participation and offering verbal support privately or through the media, rather than suggesting that because they aren’t winning yet, they should not compete.

Oliver White

12 comments

  • I am totally with you on this one Ollie. Just linklogged it actually and said:

    Ohh wow so India won a race in A1GP, the “World Cup”? That’s like climbing the stairs and saying you’ve conquered Everest. Gimme a break. The fact that Karthikeyan won the race just says it all.

    You might as well say that you would be better off winning the Conference than being in the Premiership. It is just nonsensical. Winning means nothing if you are against diddy opposition, and for all of its pretensions A1 is certainly a lower standard of engineering and driving ability.

    A1 is a good series with some fun racing, but with its “World Cup of Motorsport” pretensions it is setting itself up to be something that it cannot be. Even its name is laughable. A1 is the name cowboy builders give themselves so that they are first in the phone book. I don’t have a problem with A1, but it can’t go around believing it is in the same class as F1 because it is not.

  • I don’t think A1 sees itself as inferior to F1, but that does not excuse Texiera’s attitude. Sport isn’t just about winning, otherwise it would self-destruct. It’s about trying your best, improving as far as possible, taking the rough with the smooth and being graceful in both victory and defeat. Tony has just told us his series is about none of those things, which makes me disinclined to support it (or indeed to believe his belief that A1 will ever become profitable). I thought it was just F1 whose leaders said dumb stuff every so often…

  • From John’s post linked to above:

    Let’s get one thing straight. If there was a decent Indian driver on the market I firmly believe that Vijay would stick him in the cockpit.
    […]
    Sticking Narain in the car just because of his nationality does no one any favours β€” not F1; not Force India; and not the driver himself. John Beamer.

    I totally agree. The only other Indian racing driver that immediately springs to mind is Karun Chandhok, but he’s still too young and inexperienced. Perhaps he may do well alongside Fisichella (or someone equally experienced), he may even do better than Sutil is at the moment. But putting an inexperienced Indian driver in such a young team that is trying to improve will, as John says, do no one any favours.

  • I only hope Force India gets into podium this year and shut this guy up. But I tell you, it’s name is just marketing(Force ‘India’), as is all sponsorships in F1. Believe me, the level of attention they are getting in India is greater than soccer in spain. I think Vijay is sending out message about positive attitude of the team by selecting drivers not based on nationality but skills. Would only wonder the difference it would’ve made if Narain was in place of Fisi (didn’t Fisi finish 9th last week?)

  • Dr Mallya issued a stiffly phrased press release about this at 4pm – saying, amongst other things, “Mr Teixiera is better advised to comment on his native South Africa and his self-styled World Cup of Motorsport that is nothing more than a standard single seater series” and “I question Mr Teixiera’s competence in speaking about the aspirations of our Indian youth”.

  • And Mallya has responded. In brilliant fashion, I might add.

    I am amused by the comments of Mr Teixiera…

    …Mr Teixiera is better advised to comment on his native South Africa and his self-styled World Cup of Motorsport that is nothing more than a standard single seater series.

    I question Mr Teixiera’s competence in speaking about the aspirations of our Indian youth and what message should be sent to them in the context of Motorsport. Perhaps I should remind Mr Teixiera that my companies reach out to hundreds of millions of Indians each day through our products and services and we are not only better informed but equipped to meet the aspirations of our youth. And I certainly will not tempt them with mediocrity or false pretences.

    Instead, I will encourage world-class thinking and actions and through Force India demonstrate that an Indian team can compete at the very pinnacle of motorsport and not just in a comparatively mediocre single seater formula series. Vijay Mallya.

    The full statement can be read here, and I recommend giving it a read, even just for its well-written nature. Good on ‘ya Vijay! πŸ™‚

  • πŸ˜€ That press release is a polite way of calling Mr Teixiera a fool. Do you think the A1GP proprietor might think things through before demolishing his reputation in the countries he wants to encourage to watch his series?

  • That press release is a polite way of calling Mr Teixiera a fool.

    Very politely said, Ali. Forgive me for being blunt, but his remarks really riled me when I read them. In all honesty, Teixiera came across a bleedin’ ignorant fool. I’m sure, business-wise, he isn’t, but in terms of speaking to the press and having the correct attitude to discuss the matters he clearly wants to discuss, he has shown himself to be a f@Β£$ing fool. Sorry, but it had to be said. And thankfully, much to my increasing respect, Mallya slapped him down in the most appropriate of manners.

    Like I said in the original post, I get the impression the whole story is about Teixiera raising some press for A1GP, getting a headline and perhaps “being controversial” on purpose. But at his level, in the international press, it is unforgivable. Particularly when it appeared to get slightly xenophobic. Although it isn’t the same, is he unaware of what F1 is going through at the moment?

  • I think that Mallya got it spot on with his remark “self-styled World Cup of Motorsport that is nothing more than a standard single seater series” . The reason why I am not bothered by A1 is exaclty that ridiculous “World Cup of Motorsport” name attached to it …

    I think that Mallya also got it spot on with his approach towards bringing an Indian driver to F1. We already have one team that was created to keep a driver from certain country on the grid and we can all see now how that approach can end.

  • There’s probably a huge amount of sour grapes here. Teixiera was one of the many suitors for the Spyker team (as was), and he was also one of several people trying to engineer a deal to run customer Ferraris (before Williams torpedoed the whole shebang). So: team ownership nixed, as was another facet of his relationship with Ferrari.

    As to the much-derided A1 GP series, it was pointed out to me recently how many of the participating countries are – how shall we say it? – difficult to move large amounts of money out of. Having an A1 GP franchise offers a perfectly legitimate route for wealthy businessmen in those countries to transfer substantial quantities of capital out to Dubai (ostensibly to perform in this jolly little series) and recycle it into more user-friendly currency. Interesting, no?

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