Indian on verge of Jordan drive

Jordan's 2005 driver line-up could be made up of former Carlin Motorsport drivers after Narain Karthikeyan confirmed that he had agreed terms and expected to sign a deal with the Midland F1- owned team in the next few days. He is expected to be joined in the squad by Carlin's Nissan World Series driver Tiago Monteiro

Indian on verge of Jordan drive

"In principle I have agreed to drive for the Jordan F1 team for the 2005 season. We will be signing the agreement in the next couple of days," he told the Reuters news agency.

The Jordan team would not confirm any details of the deal, and said that it would make an announcement in the 'next few days'.

Midland F1 sporting director Trevor Carlin, who has taken up the reins at Jordan, told BBC Online that although Karthikeyan had been offered a seat in the team and was close to signing, he still required more finance. "He's still got to find some funds, but it's very close," said Carlin. "The sponsorship package seems strong.

"We're a year ahead of schedule. We're using this year as a learning year and building for 2006, so we don't want to use up next year's budget this year. Narain has some good sponsors. He's pretty quick - but a bit wild as well. He'll be quite exciting."

If Karthikeyan's deal is confirmed, he will become India's first grand prix driver. The 28-year-old from Madras, a front-runner in the World Series by Nissan category for the last three years, has tested for Jaguar Racing, Jordan and Minardi in the past and was close to racing for the latter before running into budget problems in 2003.

Karthikeyan is one of Trevor Carlin's protégés. He has driven for Carlin Motorsport's British Formula 3 team as well as its Nissan squad and gave the outfit its first victories in 1999. His F3 Korean Super Prix victory in 2000, was also the team's first international win.

Monteiro was signed to Minardi in 2004 as a test driver alongside Belgian driver Bas Leinders. The former Champ Car World Series driver also finished runner-up when he switched to the European-based World Series by Nissan category last season. The Portuguese driver impressed, ending the season the closest challenger to champion Heikki Kovalainen, with five race victories.

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