Narain seals Oct 30 date

Narain seals Oct 30 date

Motor sport Formula One: Indian to drive during free practice for rest of season

On Saturday, however, some of those questions were answered. Karthikeyan, who became India’s first ever Formula One driver in 2005, has been given the racing seat for the Indian GP.

What’s more, the Chennai-born driver will get to kick off preparations for his home GP at the Singapore Grand Prix on September 23, when he will drive during free practice, and continue to drive during free practice until the end of the season.

“I am thrilled to back behind the wheels of an F1 car,” Karthikeyan told Deccan Herald over phone. “I knew from the European Grand Prix that I would get a chance to drive again. This is really, really good. I am also expecting some upgrades to come my way but I really can’t comment on how much of a difference it will make unless I take it out onto the track.

“The Singapore circuit will definitely be a challenge as it is new to me, so I'll have to get to grips with it fairly quickly. From what I know, it is a very demanding race physically, not only because of the temperatures and humidity but also being a high-speed street circuit it is extremely bumpy. Like any other street circuit, grip builds up through the weekend and the car set-up will have to be constantly evolved to get the best out of it.”

Asked if he had taken a look at the track in Noida, Karthikeyan said: “Having driven on the track a few weeks back, I’d say we will have some fantastic racing there. What sets it apart from other tracks is that it is the first Formula One circuit to conform to the latest FIA guidelines – providing ample opportunities for overtaking.

“It should make for exciting wheel-to-wheel racing. The Jaypee Group is currently focusing on getting the track and facilities critical for F1 in shape. However, once completed, I can confidently say the track and the entire facility will be something every Indian can be proud of.”

With Karthikeyan on board, it remains to be seen if Chandhok will join the bandwagon. The wheels do turn very quickly in Formula One!

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