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Indian driver Akhil Rabindra impresses at FIA Academy test
Posted By: James Allen  |  24 Oct 2013   |  5:28 pm GMT  |  11 comments

India’s search for a driver to break into Formula 1 in a meaningful way has received a boost after Akhil Rabindra, 17, beat rivals from across Asia-Pacific to top his regional qualifier and progress to the FIA Institute’s 2013/14 Young Driver Excellence Academy.

The 17-year-old will now take part in the academy’s fully-funded training programme, which starts in December. It aims to help drivers develop their motorsport careers while increasing safety skills.

Ahead of this weekend’s Indian Grand Prix, Rabindra impressed in three days of tests and evaluations at the Sydney Motorsport Park against drivers from a number of major motorsport markets including Australia, Japan and New Zealand.

The Indian will be joined by the winners from the other regional qualifiers – Ignas Gelzinis (Europe), Abdullah Bamogaddam (Middle East), Kevin van der Linde (Africa), Diego Ferreira (Americas) – as well as three additional wild cards.

Rabindra said: “I am honoured to have been selected. I’d like to thank the FIA Institute, CAMS and India’s FMSCI for making this possible. I’m looking forward to taking on the other drivers from across the world and I hope to learn a lot from the Academy.”

The 17-year-old started racing just three years ago when he took part in the Rotax Max Junior National Rookie Championship, finishing second. The following year, he was part of the top 25 finalists for Force Inda’s One from a Billion search for new racing talent. He is currently competing in the JK Racing India Series, formerly Formula BMW Asia.

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Watch out for Kelvin Van Der Linde. This kid is extremely fast with a huge family racing heritage.


The nationality of drivers makes no difference. Do only Italians support Ferrari?


Not sure why Arya came to that conclusion. Anyway Akhil’s eyebrows remind me of a Spanish samurai 🙂


If F1 wants to make a dent in 1/3 of world population i.e. China and India and become truly global than it has to do something to bring teams / drivers from these countries on the F1 scene.

What F1 does not have is:

1) No driver or team from China

2) No driver from India (good news Force India is there)

3) No driver or team from USA

4) No driver, team or Race from Africa


What makes you think the culture is there to support F1? F1 is not exactly controlled or it’s history founded in those regions. It’s an ‘invasive species” of sport to those regions.

Think of it this way.

Do Americans watch football (soccer)?

Do Europeans watch NFL football?

Does anyone in Australia or Africa (continents) watch NHL Hockey?

How big is Cricket in the U.S. of A.?

(yeah yeah…someone does, but it’s far from main stream)

Does everything have to be liked everywhere? Sure, no harm trying. But no point forcing either.


Bit of a flawed argument there, as Phil said football (soccer) is getting more and more popular in the US…Europeans don’t need American football because we have rugby… where there is no equivalent substitute sport, it will grow in popularity. Same goes with China and India, you already see it in the increasing participation in lower formulae.

What is not a good call is giving them a chance and then judging them on a set time period. If that were the case, we wouldn’t have F1 today.


Apparently, football (soccer) is the number two sport in the US behind NFL for people under the age of 30.


What’s your source? As an American, I can confidently say that #2 sport is actually NBA Basketball.


Well, the comments column shows the apprehension of the traditional geographies towards upcoming countries.

We need to identify and acknowledge that F1 can’t survive with traditional economies only. Because those economies heavily depend on developing economies.

And if a genuine talent from developing economy tries go make the journey up, why not?



I hope you’re well.

Off topic but I wanted to say good work on the FT / Lotus video. I was walking down the stairs in our office earlier and heard what sounded like an F1 car, I kept on walking down another flight of stairs and then heard your voice. Most videos I will walk past without paying much attention but of course I watched this one … enjoyable as always.



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