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!

shares
comments
Raikkonen Breaks Valencia Record - Day Three
Previous article

Raikkonen Breaks Valencia Record - Day Three

Next article

Analysis: F1 Adds India to the Checklist

Analysis: F1 Adds India to the Checklist
Load comments
How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits Plus

How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells STUART CODLING about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Plus

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at
 Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as BEN ANDERSON discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren  Plus

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren 

From being lapped by his own team-mate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Plus

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing windtunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher Plus

The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles at a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1’s inconvenient penalties have to stay Plus

Why F1’s inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021’s title fight climax Plus

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021’s title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Qatar Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021