Karthikeyan on being India's first F1 driver

Narain Karthikeyan has no illusions that his entry into Formula 1 is going to see him grab spectacular results and become a sporting icon. But, as autosport.com finds out, being India's first ever grand prix driver has whipped up far more media interest that even he was expecting

Karthikeyan on being India's first F1 driver

It has been a whirlwind week for Karthikeyan who, after telling the world on Tuesday that he was close to signing for Jordan, has found that his every move has been watched by millions back home in India and a very interested F1 media corps.

After the speculation about his Jordan deal finally ended on Thursday afternoon, when the team confirmed he would line-up alongside fellow rookie racer Tiago Monteiro, autosport.com became the first to speak to Karthikeyan about life as a Jordan Grand Prix star.


It feels great. This is a really big thing for Indian motorsport and so many people are very, very happy about it. The whole country is upbeat and it was front page news everywhere, so it is going very well.

We have been speaking for a number of months now, and obviously I am very good friends with Trevor Carlin and Colin Colles. We began our negotiations, we got an offer and then we pushed with the sponsors and it all came through.

The target was to get to F1 as soon as possible. In India the sport is becoming more and more popular now, so it was just a matter of time. It was about getting the right package and the right opportunity - and thankfully we got one. I am really happy. India is now going to become a big motor racing industry and the sport is going to explode there, for sure.

Yes I am very, very surprised - but there seems to be a lot of interest from England as well. So I am very surprised by that and I just need to do a good job now.

I think India is much more knowledgeable and in-depth than some other countries, so they know that Jordan does not have a chance to win. But scoring the odd point here or there in some races would be a big bonus for us. Nobody is putting us under any pressure and nobody thinks you can go and beat Michael Schumacher, that is for sure. I think the knowledge of motorsport is greater in India because F1 has been followed for a long-time on television.

Already it is going to be hard. I am not going to say it is going to easy to be up there, but we need to just do a decent job and then take it from there. And obviously the objective must be to qualify decently and finish the races. Then we will see what happens. The Midland people have taken it over so late and F1 is never easy, so we just need to do the best we can and see what happens.

I think it is a big, big bonus because some of the Carlin boys are here. It will help me to settle down much, much faster. So for sure it is a big, big bonus.

It is good. Monteiro was a good driver in the lower formulae, so we need to keep pushing each other. It should work really well.

It is a good little team, but because of the last-minute takeover there is a lot of work to do!

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