Greater Noida: Former India captain Mohammed Azharuddin, who is now a member of the Lok Sabha from Moradabad, spoke to The Telegraph at the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) on Thursday evening.
The following are excerpts
Q Since when have you been interested in F1?
A For over two decades... Ayrton Senna used to be my favourite. I was to have come here last year, to watch the inaugural Indian GP, but couldn’t as I’d lost my younger son (Ayazuddin) in the weeks before that race.
Will you be at the BIC on Sunday?
Hopefully, yes... Sameerbhai (Sameer Gaur of the Jaypee Group) is a good friend and he’s invited me... In fact, I’m returning after meeting him. He and his team have done such a wonderful job.
Who do you expect to win this year’s world championship?
I’d say Sebastian Vettel again... That’s my gut feeling. He’s won the last three races and has been fantastic in the business end... I’d go for Vettel... I quite like him and Michael Schumacher.
Should Schumacher have come out of retirement, in 2010?
If I was in his shoes, then I wouldn’t have. Having said that, such decisions are very personal... Once you retire on a high, and Schumacher did (in 2006), then you should just take it easy and stay away from the track or the field.
Well, Schumacher’s quitting for a second time...
I’m sure it will be for good this time.
What’s the USP of F1?
(Laughs) Speed, glamour... You get to see the very best drivers of different nationalities... It’s a festival atmosphere before and during an F1 race.
To talk of Indian cricket... When will we win away from home?
We’ve got to play the right players at the right time. That’s one solution.
Will you be specific?
The point I’m making is that you’ve got to field players when they’re performing (at the domestic level), not ignore them. Also, few can actually play all three formats.
Should Mahendra Singh Dhoni be retained captain in the three formats?
Difficult to say, but I believe change is always good... You could have him in Test cricket, but elevate Virat Kohli to the ODI and T20 captaincy. If you aren’t winning, then look to change... Give Virat a chance... There’s no point offering the same excuses all the time. Look to stop losing.
Are you nursing your constituency well?
Of course. A lot of work has been done. But this work has to continue.
Generally, the mood against the Congress, your party, appears to be very negative...
People (can) talk... One experiences such things in politics. It’s important to take it in one’s stride and strive to work harder. That’s my take.
Finally... What’s it like being an MP?
One has lots of responsibility and there’s more responsibility in this field than on a cricket field.