Interview with Narain Karthikeyan: On his participation in Race of Champions, Indian motorsports, F1 and more – Formula 1
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Interview with Narain Karthikeyan: On his participation in Race of Champions, Indian motorsports, F1 and more

by Team Zigwheels Posted on November 7, 2012 17:22 IST 649 Views

Narain Karthikeyan speaks about the future of Indian Motorsports, Formula One and him teaming up with Karun Chandok to represent India for the first time at the Race of Champions event in Bangkok, Thailand


Narain Karthikeyan, Team HRT F1


ZW: You will be turning 36 in January 2013, and you are driving in Formula 1. But considering the number of younger drivers waiting in the wings to get into F1 and also that you're driving for a backmarker team, do you think it was worth it and if given a chance will you continue? Or would you be looking at shifting to either driver coaching or racing in other series like some of your compatriots have done with varying success? Maybe going back to Le Mans?

Karthikeyan:  Age is just a number that always increases every year. As you said there are many drivers and one has to fight for their seat. I will!


ZW: Lots of new talent coming up from India. Drivers like Armaan Ebrahim, Aditya Patel, Sailesh Bolisetti who are already racing abroad. Then you've also got younger boys like Jehan Daruvala who has just won the CIK FIA Asia Pacific Championship. How good do you think their chances are of getting into Formula 1 considering the amount of sponsorship needed?

Karthikeyan: They have an as good a chance as anyone else. 


ZW: But, do you think it is tougher finding sponsorship in India compared to the leverage European drivers have?

Karthikeyan: No. European drivers have to go through a lot to get sponsorships as well.


Narain Karthikeyan, Team HRT F1



ZW: Many drivers have said that for racing talent to develop you need an abundance of readily and cheaply available tracks to practice on like you have in Europe and the US. How much do you think this is important considering that you came up when we had only about two proper tracks in the country and the situation hasn't changed much today? Also, do you think more investors should come in to help create tracks around the country? Will it make business sense?

Karthikeyan: When I started off, there was only one track. So, the situation in India has changed a lot. Now there are more opportunities to get into racing and you can get through saloon car racing for a start which is very affordable. Toyota and Volkswagen are already into it and Tatas are also looking into it. The scope for growth is there, but at the same time the sport has also come a long way.


ZW: A word about the Circuit of the Americas where you will race next weekend.

Karthikeyan: I have seen it on YouTube. The track has a good layout and from the looks of it, I would say it is pretty interesting. A new track is always a good experience.


ZW: How does it feel to hear the Indian National Anthem at a Formula 1 race?

Karthikeyan: You get goose bumps for sure. You just cannot believe that it is happening in India. Formula One has happened for the second time here in the country and it will happen for the third and fourth and so on and it’s a very interesting phase for India.



Karun Chandok and Narain Karthikeyan, Team India at Race of



ZW: ROC format is more of an autocross style event rather than a pure circuit based style. How are you looking to tackle that? Any special practice sessions are in order?

Karthikeyan: We have had no practice yet. We are going into it unknown and we will most likely get to practice only once we are at the race venue. I believe we get one day practice before the actual event.  


ZW: In terms of partnering with Karun, how do you see that shaping up?

Karthikeyan: Yes, it should be a good partnership. Last we were together was in 2004 which was a long time ago, but I am looking forward to having Karun at the race as my partner.


ZW:  This is a first time for Indian drivers in the Race Of Champions. How does it feel to be representing India?

Karthikeyan: As racing drivers, when you put on that helmet that nature to compete fixes in. We aren’t going for a picnic. It is a competition and while it doesn’t do much for your future in terms of offering a platform to other racing formats, you still get to compete against some great drivers. Like Karun said, it is a stand alone event and it is a good feeling to be a part of it.




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