Karthikeyan to make F1 return with Hispania
6 January, 2011
Jan.06 (PVM & GMM) Narain Karthikeyan is set to make a comeback to Formula 1 after securing a drive with Hispania Racing Team (HRT) for the 2011 F1 season.
Times of India quote Karthikeyan saying, “I have worked really hard to come back to F1 and it will be a dream come true to race in the first ever Indian Grand Prix in front of my fellow Indians. I hope that they will spur me on with their blessings and good wishes.”
Karthikeyan, India’s first F1 driver, last raced in a Grand Prix back in 2005 with Jordan in China, while he was occasional test driver for Williams F1 in 2006 and 2007.
The 33-year-old Indian driver was overjoyed by the developments which gives him the chance of being an Indian driver on the grid for the inaugural Indian Grand Prix later this year.
It emerged late last year that Karthikeyan, turning 34 next week, had up to $8 million to spend on a seat, including the backing of Mumbai-based carmaker Tata who are thought keen to associate with the inaugural Indian grand prix in October.
Since his departure from F1, Karthikeyan was A1 Team India driver from 2007 to 2009. In 2009, he raced for the Kolles Audi Team in the Le Mans Series and the Le Mans 24-Hour race, where he became the first ever Indian to participate in the legendary endurance race.
He was very busy in 2010, competing in NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series in the USA, as well as in the Superleague Formula in Europe, where he won a race at Brands Hatch.
Hispania Racing team principal Colin Kolles said, “I am sure that his experience and speed will be very useful for the team during the season.”
Karthikeyan confirmed that the Tata Group a pivotal financial role in ensuring his return to a full-time Formula 1 drive.
“It’s been a while in the making, but I am delighted to be racing again in Formula 1 in 2011. I have always maintained that I have not given up on my desire to return to the top level of motor sport. I am confident that I have the pace, the fitness and the will to succeed in Formula 1. I am extremely grateful to the Tata Group, without whose unwavering support, this comeback would not have been possible,” said Karthikeyan.
Karthikeyan was asked about the likely competitiveness of HRT’s 2011 car, after the Dallara-built single seater this year proved the slowest in the field.
“The car can’t be any worse than it was last year,” he said. “Ideally we would like to move ahead of the other two new teams Lotus and Virgin.”
He added, “I’m looking forward to racing for HRT, and to working again with Dr Colin Kolles (MD/Team Principal, Hispania Racing). We have a long standing and excellent working relationship together.”
|Kumar Ram Narain Karthikeyan
Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
14 January 1977
2005 Australian Grand Prix
2005 Chinese Grand Prix