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Karthikeyan signs race deal with HRT

Narain KarthikeyanNarain Karthikeyan will return to Formula 1 with HRT this year after revealing on Thursday that he has signed a deal to race for the team.

Although the Spanish-based outfit has not made any official statement itself confirming the news, Karthikeyan told the India media and announced via his own Twitter feed that he will be racing in F1 again.

On his Twitter page, he wrote: "Back in F1 in 2011. Signed a deal to race for HRT. I've always maintained that my time in F1 was not over and now making good on that promise."

AUTOSPORT understands that HRT will make an announcement about one of its drivers on Friday morning.

Karthikeyan last raced in F1 back in 2005, when he competed for the Jordan team - and he is most famously remembered for the huge accident he suffered at the Chinese Grand Prix.

After that campaign, he spent two seasons as a Williams test driver before switching to the A1GP series.

In 2009, he linked up with HRT team principal Colin Kolles to race for the German's Audi team in the Le Mans Series - before spending last season in NASCAR's Truck Series and occasional appearances in Superleague, winning at Brands Hatch.

Speaking to The Times of India about his drive, Karthikeyan said: "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 motorsport.

"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.

"I'm looking forward to racing for HRT and to working again with Dr Colin Kolles. We have a long standing and excellent working relationship together."

Karthikeyan's return to F1 coincides with the first Indian Grand Prix, which is scheduled to take place in October.

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