Greater Noida: Former Formula One World champion Jackie Stewart says India now must focus on producing a bunch of world-class drivers after the resounding success of the inaugural Indian Grand Prix.

The 'Flying Scotsman' also feels that it is time F1 had a female driver on the grid.World champion in 1969, 1971, 1973, Stewart says India should be proud of what it had achieved and the Grand Prix success should be followed by creating a pool of Indian drivers who could take on the likes of current World champion Sebastian Vettel.

'What India has made (the Buddh International Circuit) is remarkable. I drove around the circuit and it is one of the best in the world. But that is not enough for the progress of Indian motorsports. You guys gotta create a bunch of racing drivers at the highest level,' an animated Stewart said.

'We need to get more and more Indians racing in Formula cars. The infrastructure needs to be put in place. I see there are not many race tracks in India,' said the 73-year-old, who inaugurated the Sriperumbudur track in Tamil Nadu way back in 1985.

Stewart thinks highly of Indian F1 drivers Karun Chandhok and Narain Karthikeyan, but says the country needs a fresh face.

'Look they are good but they have been around long enough. Karthikeyan used to drive for my team in Formula 3 and he was bloody quick at that time. But it is time to move on. We need 5-6 Indian drivers at the world level. You can't expect two drivers to be successful in Formula One. If India has four drivers, the UK has 10 and Germany 15, then obviously you are not going to go anywhere.'

He bluntly put it that being a champion in India will not put him on the world map, for exposure in Europe is a must.

'I understand things can't change overnight, but you can start by sending more drivers to compete in Formula series in Europe. There is tremendous amount of learning you are going to get.'

Success in motorsports is often being linked to the money the driver brings into the team, but Stewart believes there is no substitute for talent.

'If you are a good driver, the teams will take you. Money is a factor, but it doesn't stop the talented making it big.'

Formula One has evolved by leaps and bounds from the time Stewart used to race. For instance, Ferrari's budget for aerodynamics upgrade is the same as the entire budget of a team like Hispania.

Stewart acknowledged the sea change in the sport, but feels the 'animal' inside the driver is the same.

'The sport has evolved media wise. There is a tremendous amount of coverage now. As far as driving goes, nothing has changed. The driver is the same, the animal is the same. I don't think the current lot is much different from the likes of Alain Prost, Nicki Lauda, Jackie Stewart, Jim Clarke, Juan Manuel Fangio. The cars have changed and so has the technology.'

Stewart is perplexed by the absence of women on the track.

'We must have a woman racing in F1. Can you imagine the kind of money that she can make from the sport?  It will be more than the man. She could endorse so many more brands than her male counterpart. There should be woman on the track.'

For 14 years, Stewart held the record for most wins by a Formula One driver and was eventually broken by Prost in 1987.

(Agencies)