Karthikeyan in the frame as Hero Motors back HRT in India

2011 Indian Grand Prix

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Karthikeyan's last start for HRT was at Valencia

HRT has secured sponsorship from Indian moped and scooter manufacturer Hero Motors for the inaugural Indian Grand Prix.

Narain Karthikeyan has been tipped to return to a race seat with the team for his home event but is yet to be confirmed.

Hero Motors said it will “display its logo on Narain’s racing car in the Grand Prix as a token of its strong association with the event.”

Karthikeyan said: “Formula 1 is in its nascent stage in India with great potential waiting to be explored. I hope with the support from Hero Motors we will be able to scale new milestones in the times to come.”

Hero Motors managing director Pankaj Munjal added: “Hero Motors is committed to be amongst the first Indian corporate houses to compete in the Indian Grand Prix and we are indeed very proud to be associated with Narain Karthikeyan and Hispania Racing Team (HRT).

“The alliance with the HRT will provide a unique platform for the group to communicate its extensive of competencies to a global audience.”

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    30 comments on “Karthikeyan in the frame as Hero Motors back HRT in India”

    1. Are we 100% this is a swap for Ricciardo? With the kind of $$$ Red Bull could be piping into the team what’s the chances of Liuzzi being on tea making duty for the Indian GP?

      Just a thought, it doesn’t say anywhere on the Autosport story about who will get the boot.

      1. this is a really good point!

      2. I haven’t said he will be driving in Ricciardo’s place and I haven’t read the story you’re referring to.

        1. Sorry Keith, I wasn’t trying to make out that your story was inaccurate, badly worded comment on my part.

          It’s just I read the Autosport version before this, and neither post have mentioned who will be replaced, I find this interesting as one might expect Ricciardo to let Karthikeyan back in, but we know Red Bull are funding the Aussie, so perhaps Liuzzi will sit this one out.

      3. As the article states, HRT did not even yet confirm Karthikeyan will be driving, its just guessing which car he will be driving.

        But I rather think it might be his “own” car, not Liuzzi’s as this was probably planned to be done a while ago, just not finalized the deal before.

      4. So far we do not even know if this is just Narain getting in the car for a friday outing!

      5. I agree, my first instinct was that he might replace Liuzzi.

      6. What I fear. Hopefully not, Liuzzi has some personal sponsors as well.

      7. I would imagine Red Bull and HRT factored that into their decision, I expect he would replace Karthikeyan.

      8. It’s quite a let down, it would be a shame for Liuzzi to be under threat in a team he has done alot for, and Ricciardo needs all the experience he can get.

        I suspect it will be Ricciardo’s seat.

    2. So Hero Motors will “display its logo on Narain’s racing car in the Grand Prix…” – does that mean on race day, or free practice? Does it mean that Narain will actually be in the car?

      1. Exactly. No reply from HRT yet…

    3. I find it truly amazing someone with skills as mediocre as Karthikeyan’s has been in the Formula 1 picture for so many years now. I mean, I kind of understand Indian companies want an Indian driver out there and are willing to sponsor a lot of money, but seriously… are they desperate enough to sponsor a driver that is clearly one of the slowest drivers they can possibly waste their money on? Surely there are better Indian drivers out there? I’d go as far as saying I’d be embarrassed by a driver as bad as he is representing my country… same as I was with Christijan Albers.

      1. Off topic: I don’t think Albers was that slow, although of course he didn’t do himself any favours with that fuel hose incident in Magny-Cours.

        1. Albers had a dutiful career at the end of the grid, one that we don’t see much anymore, but was common in the 1980s and 1990s for sure.

          He quietly dispatched Friesacher in the first half of 2005 before slightly getting the better of (a probably better driver) Robert Doornbos, not only a career rival but a personal rival (they share two ex-girlfriends, if you can believe it).
          He unceremoniously sent Tiago Monteiro off the grid after beating him at Midland in 2006.
          And then once he had a faster teammate in Sutil at Spyker in 2007, he too was gone.

          I quite liked Albers but there wasn’t much room for him on those thin grids.

          1. Meh, I wouldn´t say he was completely rubbish. However, I don´t think he was all that F1 worthy and despite not getting great results, I think Doornbos was the better driver of the two that should´ve made more use of his opportunities.

            1. Albers did Nice things in DTM and even in F1. But man, both Albers and Doornbos were too preoccupied with ‘being a brand’. I’m hoping that Giedo Vd Garde will get an opportunity, but I fear that it’ll be more of this ‘marketing stuff’ – as we see with Katikeyan

      2. I’m guessing brand awareness alone counts for the majority of the return on sponsorship.

    4. Slightly off topic I know, but it’s stuff like this that marks the difference between India and Turkey in F1.

      The Grand Prix in Turkey was not accompanied by any extra investment from Turkey in terms of drivers, teams or sponsorship.

      The Indian Grand Prix will possibly have two local drivers, an ‘Indian’ team and sponsors relevant to the Indian domestic market.

      If Turkey had had all of this perhaps the event would have been a success. As it was F1 had shallow roots in Turkey.

      Spain’s explosion in interest in F1 over the last 10 years also shows what can be done when sponsors (Telefonica), drivers and teams are put in place.

      It’s a shame the same won’t happen in Turkey.

      1. The Grand Prix in Turkey was not accompanied by any extra investment from Turkey in terms of drivers, teams or sponsorship.

        Petrol Ofisi backed it for a couple of years and sponsored BAR/Honda too, before dropping out.

    5. Why are they sponsoring a driver who’s currently not a racing driver in Formula 1 (he’s HRT’s tester)? Why are they not sponsoring Chandhok or Force India?

      1. its probably their cheapest option to be associated loosely with f1

        1. Not to mention there might be different bussiness groups involved around Karun that make this one look for Narain.

    6. just to be clear, I hate this “seatdance” it’s embarrassing and unprofessional.

      1. HRT need the money and the sponsorship so try not be too harsh on them, getting into F1 is tough business!

        If this was a top flight team I would agree with you, however.

    7. That’s a good thing.Hero Moto is one of the leading two wheel maker in the world we use them in my country & they are very good,next to Japanese bike they are the best.

    8. I think HRT show put ‘ME LOVE YOU LONG TIME’ on the side of their cars, be very fitting :D

    9. Amod D Kulkarni
      8th September 2011, 6:04

      One a side note , Which are the best stands for the Indian GP. My friends ad I are to buy tickets soon and need some suggestions. Could not find any related thread so posting it here. Thanks.

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