|Indian motor racing ace, Narain Karthikeyan in an exclusive chat with Vinesh Nair of Sify.com said that he was really happy to test with Cheever Racing of the Indy Racing League (IRL) earlier this week but insisted that his focus was still on getting into Formula 1. |
Here are excerpts of the conversation:
VN: Narain, it's great to read about the tests in America and congratulations! Tell us about your experience...
NK: Thanks a lot mate. It was a very nice experience. I got the opportunity and took it. It is very different from Formula 1 or even the Nissan World Series but my goal remains Formula 1. I do want to make a break into Formula 1 in the near future and I am confident of the opportunities.
VN: How different are the IRL cars from Formula 1 cars or those that you race currently.
NK: The cars are very different. They are ten times more dangerous than Formula 1 cars and since you are driving on an oval circuit, you go round and round at unbelievable speeds without changing gears and without touching the brakes! The cars run on Chevrolet engines and are a lot heavier. It is not very safe at all. Every other driver has a crash or an accident every season. Look at what happened to Darren Manning who has had to miss the last race in the series.
VN: So, what does this test mean for you in your quest for a Formula 1 seat?
NK: It is a very good experience but I am going to be busy testing and having discussions with teams in Europe over the next few months, so lets see how that goes.
VN: What are the chances that India will get to see you on the F1 grid in 2005?
NK: If there is a chance, it has to be with a smaller team like Jordan, Minardi or Jaguar. With Jaguar out of Formula 1, that limits my options.
VN: But Jordan is all set to announce their engine partnership with Toyota?
NK: Yes, that would be good because Toyota are on the way up and there is a rumour that the rulers of Dubai will buy out the team and even Minardi is a good stepping stone to success. Mark Webber made his debut there and so did Fernando Alonso.
VN: We now go into the holiday season before all the testing begins for the 2005 season. Most teams will be in discussion with their sponsors and partners to secure their plans for the future. Midland Racing, a new team is coming into F1 for the 2006 season. Does that open out more options for you?
NK: Yes of course. The owners of the Midland team are very good friends and do believe in my abilities. But that is for 2006. I am still working on my options for the coming season.
VN: So, what are your plans for the next few months?
NK: Like I said, I am going to be extremely busy in Europe and I also have another test in the IRL for the middle of November. The next few months are critical.
VN: Thank you very much Narain and wish you all the very best buddy.
NK: Thank you Vinesh and lets catch up when I come to Chennai.
Narain Karthikeyan's records in the recent past have interested several teams. In 2003, Narain lost out to Zsolt Baumgartner for a Minardi seat because the latter had tremendous support from the Hungarian Govt. In a sport where just talent alone will not suffice, Narain could well do with a bit of support from the sports authorities in this country who seem completely closed to new sports of this kind. Investments in cricket must soon be questioned as they garner such minimal results as we can all see in the current India - Australia series.