Narain Karthikeyan, HRT, Nurburgring, 2011

HRT confirm Karthikeyan will race in India

2011 Indian Grand Prix

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Narain Karthikeyan, HRT, Nurburgring, 2011
Narain Karthikeyan, HRT, Nurburgring, 2011

Narain Karthikeyan will drive in his home race in India next month, HRT have confirmed.

Karthikeyan will also drive in the first practice session for the Singapore Grand Prix.

The team have not confirmed whether he will be returning in place of Daniel Ricciardo, who replaced him at the team, or Vitantonio Liuzzi.

Team principal Colin Kolles said: “It is great to have Narain back in the car as it will give him critical seat time before he drives at the Indian Grand Prix.

“He is the best driver to come out of the region and is undoubtedly extremely talented as he has proved through his progress this season.”

Karthikeyan added: “Of course it’s a great feeling to be driving on a Grand Prix weekend once again, and on the subject of my home Grand Prix of India, the team had assured me that I’d be driving when I stepped out of my seat after the European Grand Prix.

“The Singapore circuit will definitely be a challenge as it is new to me so I’ll have to get to grips with it fairly quickly

“From what I know, it is a very demanding race physically, not only because of the temperatures and humidity but also being a high-speed street circuit it is extremely bumpy. Like any other street circuit, grip builds up through the weekend and car set-up will have to be constantly evolved to get the best out of it.

“Overall, it is a great place to return to race proceedings, and will go a long way to get me back in the rhythm for the Indian Grand Prix. Also my sincere thanks to my ever faithful sponsor the Tata Group, and recent support from both Hero Motors and Base batteries”.

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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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65 comments on “HRT confirm Karthikeyan will race in India”

  1. If Karthikeyan replaced Liuzzi, and Chandhok replaced Trulli, there would be no Italians on the grid. When was the last time that happened?

    1. Before 1997 at least, but they are only doing it as they are deperate to get sponserhip money by having a native driver for a one-off sponership deal

    2. My guess is it was in 1978 or something. It would be sad…

      1. It would be sad.

        I disagree. I don’t think there should be an Italian driver on the grid for the sake of having an Italian driver on the grid.

        1. I think it will be sad, but if there’s not the talent, sadly there is not the talent.

          Although while there shouldn’t “be an Italian driver on the grid for the sake of [it]”, that statement looks a bit silly given the reasons that Liuzzi and Truili are being substituted for…

          1. That’s true – but it applies to drivers of any nationality. They should be chosen according to their ability, not for the PR boost they bring in one market.

          2. Ha, and getting an F1 drive these days is all about talent?

        2. It would be sad if there were no Italians because that would mean no Italian deserves to be in F1 (although they do more than Chandhok and Karthikeyan).

          1. I agree. But I think people are taking this “no italian on the grid for one race” way too seriously.

            I agree that both the Indian drivers are terrible, but whats the big deal if they replace two backmarking Italians for one race after the championship is over?

            Ferrari represents Italy anyways

      2. patresse was driving for arrows in 1978. He was blamed for the accident that caused peterson’s death at monza.

    3. Not sure when no Italians entered but in 1996 no Italians qualified for German, Belgian and Japanese GP.

  2. I disagree with him saying Karthikeyan is the best indian driver. Karun is an incredible driver, and is, in my opinion, much better

    1. Ha wasn’t go say Karthikeyan was the second best Indian driver, was he. Be real, occasionally.

    2. to be honest, i don’t think Karthikeyan is a far worse driver than Chandhok.

      But he might be way past his peak by now.

    3. You’re right. Karun Chandhok is almost certainly a better driver, but he’s also a pretty decent commentator. Half of me wishes he doesn’t get another F1 drive so that we can continue to get him alongside Crofty and Davidson.

      1. I have ti say, I think calling Chandhok an “incredible driver” is maybe an exaggeration.

  3. What’s the point in Karthikeyan driving in FP1 when he has almost no chance of ever driving the track again?

    1. To get him reacquainted with a Formula 1 car. He’ll probably get some running in Japan and/or South Korea.

    2. He really needs to be able to get in 107% at the Indian GP otherwise he and HRT will look really foolish after the hype of having Indian drivers racing at an Indian GP.

      If he did fail to make 107% cut-off it would be interesting to see what part politics plays in trying to get him on the starting grid.

      1. Given that the stewards only seem to reject drivers in teams that are completely unready for the season, no politics is likely to be needed.

  4. I feel really terrible for saying this (I don’t really), but I hope the car breaks down on the first lap. Or he has a laughably shambolic weekend.

    Those like Tata and HRT making a mockery of Formula 1 – the pinnacle of motorsport – deserve to be mocked themselves.

    1. Its not just Tata, its Tata and Hero Motors now its Base batteries confirmed as well!

    2. what makes you think tht they have made a mockery of formula 1? :o

      1. Because Formula 1 is about the best of the best. It’s where the supposed greatest drivers in the world compete for the greatest prize in world motorsport in the greatest machines in the world.

        If you’re a Formula 1 driver you should have the abilities worthy to be considered one of the elite 24 drivers in the world. Narain Kartikeyan – although undoubtedly a better racing driver than any of us could hope to be – is obviously not. The one single reason why he has been racing this season and why he’ll be racing in Buddh is because of the Indian sponsorship money he brings with him. And he doesn’t have that sponsorship because he is talented, he has it purely because he’s Indian and therefore marketable for an Indian audience.

        When it gets to the point where teams like HRT are blatantly and unashamedly whoring their seats out to drivers purely for commercial reasons instead of because the drivers are genuinely worthy of them, I feel that’s making a mockery of Formula 1.

        1. must not have been wathing f1 a decade ago then.

          we have seen teams far worse than hrt & drivers far worse than narain race in f1 in the past.

          i dont think narain is that bad a driver to be honest, hes won races in many other categories for instance against some very good drivers.

        2. But how can you say “Tata and HRT making a mockery of Formula 1”. Tata want some exposure & they are going with their best options available. If anyone is making mockery, then it should have been FIA in the first place by allowing teams to change drivers at their wish. Moreover F1 is not all about talent, if talent is the only yardstick then there are not better drivers than the current one’s in this world??

        3. in that case, Williams and Pastor Maldonado are making a mockery of f1 too….Williams ditched a top class driver(hulkenberg) for Pastor for sponsorship reasons…. Pastor may not be that bad, but isnt any better than hulkenberg!
          In case of tata, they already hv their branding on ferrari bcz they design software tht runs ferrari’s racing cars….
          Its gr8 to see Narain racing again, he is frm a nation where even finding a karting track is difficult….i live close to the motorsport hub of south india, but i hv to travel 100km to get to the nearest karting circuit!

          1. Yeah, and don’t forget Ferrari who ditched Raikkonen for Banco Santander’s money. Sauber with Perez, Virgin with D’Ambrosio, Renault with Petrov and Senna… they are all making a mockery of F1 ;)

          2. Not when the pay drivers actually have talent which is what HRT drivers seem to be lacking – excluding Riccardio from this as we haven’t seen enough to make a decent judgement on his abilities.

        4. Actually, whoring out seats to drivers for purely commercial reasons is a time honoured F1 tradition.

    3. Have you wished for the same when Williams replaced Nico H for Maldonado? Just because it is HRT and Narain, it does not mean that they are mocking Formula 1 by doing this. HRT needs money to develop their cars. So I dont see anything wrong with this arrangement. It just shows how determined they are to stick with Formula 1 in spite of going through a series of monetary and technical problems. And about Narain, I am happy that he made this far from a country which did not have any world class facilities to groom a driver to the Formula 1 level. And, I am happy that the companies like Tata supporting him even though they know very well that he will be running in the last row in the race. I wouldn’t say they are sponsoring him just to show their brand name in Formula 1. They already have their software wing brand name ‘Tata Consultancy Services’ in the Ferraris. There is no need for them to spend extra $ to get their brand name in a HRT.

    4. I wish the same for you in whatever you do

  5. I’m sure this comeback was based on merit and will put the mighty Schumacher’s return to shame…

    1. Oh yes, I’m sure Karthikeyan will be a champion one day ;)

      1. I hope you are drunk while you was writing this.

  6. We can’t say we didn’t expected that,now waiting for Lotus to announce their line up.

    1. Yeah, no surprises. Though who he will replace is another matter.

  7. Collin Kolles’ interview was actually ‘It’s great to have Karthikeyan back in the car… because at least it’s not Sakon!!!

    1. To be honest, I was more impressed with Sakon last season than with Narain this year. In qualifying, Yamamoto was usually within 1-3 tenths of his much more highly-rated teammates; Karthikeyan has been more in the range of 6 tenths to a second slower than Liuzzi, aside from 2 or 3 occasions when he got within a couple of tenths. Also, there were occasions last year (Suzuka sticks in the memory) of Yamamoto battling with and holding off faster rivals for a number of laps. Although this year’s HRT has been closer to their nearest rivals than last year’s, I don’t recall any such swashbuckling antics from Karthikeyan, other than causing Massa to knock off his nose in Canada. Liuzzi, on the other hand, has proved that the car is capable of doing so.
      To Karthikeyan’s credit though… at least he hasn’t run over his pit crew yet!

      1. I don’t recall any such swashbuckling antics from Karthikeyan, other than causing Massa to knock off his nose in Canada.

        Canada was infact where Narain finished ahead of Liuzzi until stewards handed him 20 second time penalty…..

        Not to mention Narain was leading Liuzzi in China’11 by over 25+ seconds with 4 laps from chequered flag. He was on dead tyres with one stopper strategy; The team could have pitted him for tyres and he would have still finished ahead of Liuzzi, but team chose to let Liuzzi on fresher tyres pass the Indian driver.

        Not to mention Narain was immediately setting faster lap times on 2010 spec car in winter testing, timings better than what Senna, Chandok, Sakon, Klien (who is terrific talent on single lap) had put for HRT 2010 car through out the season.

        Its not as if the drivers here are slouch its just that F1 is Engineers battle with 85% importance is the car under the driver.

        All these drivers in F1 and on fringe in equal car will closely match each other. unfortunately given the nature of the sport that will never be proven.

        However the Indian driver has been race winner in every single seater category he has driven that has equal spec car may it be F3, WSR, A1GP or Super league formula in recent times…

        1. In Canada, Narain finished in 14th, behind Liuzzi in 13th.

          Re. China – what is your source that the team made the decision not to pit, and not Narain himself? And if it was the team’s decision, that Narain had not agreed to the strategy?

          For the testing results, do you have any stats? I wouldn’t want to comment without taking track conditions etc. into account.

          the Indian driver has been race winner in every single seater category he has driven that has equal spec car

          As true as that may be, my comment was on the performances of two drivers in a non-spec series. I agree with you that Narain has more natural talent than Sakon; I simply don’t believe that this has been reflected in their respective performances at HRT.

  8. Lucas Alexander Munro
    17th September 2011, 14:02

    Now we just have to wait for Karun to be confirmed at Team Lotus in India!

  9. Cynical marketing has allowed Karthikeyan to race in India. Hopefully Liuzzi wont be losing his seat to him.

    Karthikeyan has only returned to F1 because of money. Chandhok does have more to give though in my opinion so he should be allowed to race.

    1. What?
      Why should Chandhok be allowed to race and Karthikeyan not? Let’s be honest, both drivers don’t deserve an F1 seat on merit. But I have no problem with them driving in the Indian GP, it might help drawing attention to the event and make F1 popular in India, something that hasn’t been done in other countries, for example Turkey.
      Besides that, I’m not sure if Chandhok is really better than Karthikeyan.

      1. What’s next, set-up the race and allow an Indian driver to win the Indian GP so F1 becomes even more popular in India? This ‘sport’ is becoming a comedy.

      2. I’m not sure if Chandhok is really better than Karthikeyan

        After Chandhok’s performance in Germany I’m more inclined to agree with you on that one. Karthikeyan has been slow all year but at least he hasn’t had a weekend as shambolic as Chandhok at the Nurburgring: being outqualified by a Virgin in a car that’s a good second faster, spinning off twice and finishing a lap behind a guy in only his second GP, driving the slowest car in the field.

  10. First reviews for F1 2011 are coming in. Seem positive so far :) http://au.xbox360.ign.com/articles/119/1194797p1.html

  11. i hope he replaces liuzzi. He had his shot at f1 and he just didn’t make it. daniel is showing he has more talent.

    1. Agreed. If Narain is really to get a shot, he should replace the one who failed at STR and failed at FI.

      1. How is he showing he has more talent? I know it’s difficult when you’re in a crap car, but I’m interested to know why you think thaat.

  12. I love the knock-about humour of teams like HRT. Nothing new about this sort of behaviour, it goes way back to the days of teams running extra cars for local drivers. And as such I don’t think it degrades F1 because it’s part of it fabric, not matter how hard Bernie tries to polish ‘the brand’. More interest here than with the advertiser’s automatons at the front of the grid. If only they’d be more honest about it.

  13. Its gr8 to see Narain racing again, he is frm a nation where even finding a karting track is difficult….i live close to the motorsport hub of south india, but i hv to travel 100km to get to the nearest karting circuit!

  14. in india, if u want to attract spectators to a sport, u need to have local representation… period! Events in Commonwealth Games which did not have Indian representation were conducted in empty arenas, literally! So, its FIA’s call….India’s 3 world cup victories has made the Intl Cricket Council one the most richest sporting bodies with 75pc of money coming from India!

  15. Imagine if boths Indians dont qualify, im sure that FIA would allow them to race. Despite everything I’ve to say that I admire Chandok he seems to be an hard working driver and one of the biggest F1 fans so I wish all the luck I know that he is talented enough I think he can brag that he beat Senna, right!

    1. Hmm i’m not sure I agree on your comment about the FIA letting them race, irrespective of their qualifying time. The FIA should not involve itself in any commercial aspect of the sport. I can appreciate the teams wanting to swap drivers but the FIA should not favour a driver based on nationality ,they’re meant to uphold the sporting conduct.

      That said, the rule does say it’s at the stewards discretion so I guess they wouldn’t be breaking any rules!

      1. However, the only time that anyone has actually not been allowed to race because of the 107% rule was in Australia, with HRT themselves. It hasn’t been “used” since then despite D’Ambrosio in Canada and HRT in Monaco behind it.

  16. Fair enough. I don’t really have a problem with this news. I wish him and HRT every success and I hope it aids the team in setting up for a secure future.

  17. Funny people say it’s money bringing Karthekeyan the seat, but forget it was money that got Recciardo to replace him in the first place.
    You don’t think perhaps this was the agreement reached much earlier that allowed Karthekeyan to relinquish his seat to Ricciardo, without a fuss considering he brought the sponsor that got the team going.

    1. RedBull money is holier than Tata money….

      What all the detractors conveniently overlook is that Tata a global firm in automotive business can choose to sponsor any F1 team (as they do a bit for Ferrari) and not fund any Indian drivers since they are perceived “Non talented” by the the people in Europe, but then have chosen to stick with Narain right from his formative years and backed him while he was out of F1 and now again.

      Indian sponsors want returns for investment as well, and if they chose to spend 10M per year on Narain, he must be some worth for them. There’s no free lunches anywhere you go in the world…

  18. well when people say a driver should be in a f1 car on merit then all the “pay driver” shouldnt be there as there are lot of talented guys waiting in the wings …but to run a team is a costly business and they need sponsors money.it doesnt matter if its kartikeyan or pastor if they getting the money and team is happy then they should drive ..sad but true

    1. Exactly. To dismiss pay drivers is to be naive to the needs of a Formula 1 team.

  19. Keith.
    Looking forward to indian grand prix,(providing they clear the sewage first)BUT who of you lot on here like me would love to see F1 at rockingham on an oval?
    Ultimate challenge..
    The place is awesome but always empty..

  20. Italian drivers have no sponsorship money and receive no support from Ferarri (unlike Mercedes with German drivers).

    Infact I believe Ferrari like it that way as they have all the Italian fans on their side. Imagine if Vettel was Italian, Alot of Italians would now be following him and Red Bull (especially as Italy has not produced a World Champion F1 driver since the 1950’s.

    It’s in Ferrari’s best interest to not support any good young Italian drivers, infact they try to stifle them (like they have done with Mirko Bortolotti)

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