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No looking back for Narain Karthikeyan on US return

by IANS Photos: DPPI Posted on 15 Nov 2012

Despite becoming the first Indian F1 driver to score points during his last US Grand Prix in Indianapolis in 2005, Karthikeyan doesn't give the feat much importance preferring instead to focus on the future

 

Narain Karthikeyan, 2005 United States Grand Prix

 

Last time he competed in a US Grand Prix, Narain Karthikeyan chalked up a Formula One first while a jeering Indianapolis crowd threw bottles and demanded their money back. Even if that infamous 2005 six-car race made him the first Indian F1 driver to score points, the 35-year-old would much rather focus on the future as he prepares for next week's return to America for the inaugural grand prix at the new Austin circuit in Texas. "I have no feeling about it," Karthikeyan, now with Spanish-based back-markers HRT, told Reuters when reminded of that farcical June afternoon of seven years ago. "I have nothing much to say really.

 

"I don't think about it like that," he added when asked whether the race held any special place in his affections for at least allowing him to make history for his country by finishing fourth. "It was exceptional circumstances and we were told to do a job and we did it. Everyone started the race... we didn't know before the race. it was pretty weird to see all of them going out with the warmup lap and back to the pits. Bridgestone had told us to race and we did," he recalled.

 

The Indian was one of just six drivers who started the race, won comfortably by seven-times champion Michael Schumacher in a Ferrari, after all of the teams using Michelin tyres pulled out for safety reasons. The six Bridgestone-shod cars lapped in team formation for 73 laps before the chequered flag and the crowd was outraged on an afternoon that created a wave of negative publicity for a sport that had long sought to win over America.

 

Karthikeyan, who raced for the now-defunct Jordan team in 2005, left Formula One at the end of that season to become the Williams test driver.