Karthikeyan returns to F1 with Hispania

first_imgKarthikeyan will race for Hispania for the full season.After a five- year gap, Narain Karthikeyan made his return to Formula One. The ace Indian driver announced on Thursday that he has signed a contract with Hispania Racing Team ( HRT) for the 2011 season.Karthikeyan last raced in an F1 car in 2005 with Jordan and later test- drove for the Williams team in 2006 and 2007.Karthikeyan, 33, was elated with the development and was looking forward to fulfilling his dream of driving at the inaugural Indian Grand Prix. ” I have worked really hard to return to F1 and it will be a dream come true to race in the first ever F1 race in India. I am delighted to be racing again in F1. I have always maintained that I have not given up on my desire to return to the top level of motor sport. I am confident that I have the pace, the fitness and the will to succeed. I am extremely grateful to the Tata Group, without whose unwavering support, this comeback would not have been possible. I have a long standing relationship with Kolles and can’t wait for the season to start,” he added.The Spanish outfit’s team boss Colin Kolles said: ” It is a great pleasure for us to have signed Narain. I have known Narain for a long time and he can revert to the experiences he gained when he was competing for Jordan and being test and reserve driver for Williams,” said the German, who was the team principal of Jordan when Karthikeyan made his F1 debut.advertisementAfter his F1 stint in 2005, Narain dabbled with other competitive series. From 2007 until 2009, he drove for Team India in the A1GP and won in China and Britain. In 2009, he raced for the Kolles Audi Team in the Le Mans Series and the Le Mans 24- Hour race, where he was the first- ever Indian participant.Last year, he crossed the Atlantic and raced in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in the US. There, he was adjudged the ‘ Most Popular Driver’. Market sources say Karthikeyan’s sponsors, led by the TATAs, have promised to raise ?8 million for HRT. It must be mentioned here that M AIL T ODAY had reported Karthikeyan will definitely race at the Indian GP because of solid sponsors’ backing. Interestingly, he started with a backof- the- grid team in 2005 ( Jordan) and again goes to back- of- the- grid team.Hispania, too, have made a smart marketing move. They began with an Indian driver last year – Karun Chandhok – and will have an Indian at the October 30 Indian GP. Narain will do a pre- season test in Valencia, Spain, in February.Hispania have improved their resources and have entered some strong technical partnerships for the 2011 season.Though they finished at the back of the grid last season, the Spanish outfit are expecting a change of fortune this time around with new gearbox deals with Williams.Narain’s manager Yohann Setna said the Indian will race for the entire season.” The team is financially stable after they attracted some Spanish investors. Narain’s sponsors are also completely committed for a longer run,” added Yohann.” HRT will participate with an upgraded version of their 2010 chassis, mated to the legendary Cosworth engine, and a gearbox sourced from Williams. It is the extraordinary F1 experience of Williams Grand Prix Engineering and the reliability of their cars that prompted HRT to take this positive step forward to become competitive on the Formula One grid,” Yohan said.The inaugural Indian GP is slated for October 30 and with the announcement of Karthikeyan’s return to Formula One, motorsport fans in country will definitely have a lot to look forward to.FACT FILE2005: The 33- year- old made his Formula One debut with Jordan and managed points at the US GP2007- 09: Was the lead driver for Team India in the A1 GP. He won in Zhuhai, China and Brands Hatch, UK2010: Participated at the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series2011: Returned to F1 after signing a deal with Hispania Racing Teamlast_img

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