MELBOURNE: Formula One car driver Narain Karthikeyan on Tuesday hoped that with him reaching the highest level of motor racing, Indian fans and corporate houses would take more interest in the sport.
“I think they (Indians) were dreaming a bit about getting a grand prix two years ago,” Karthikeyan was quoted as saying by The Australian.”Without an Indian driver, attendance would be very small. With me, it is more realistic, and maybe the corporates will like it more,” he said at a pre-Grand Prix function here. With Karthikeyan entering the fray as a driver for Team Jordan Midlands, public interest in the sport in India has gained a major boost.
“Indians especially follow something more passionately if their own countrymen are in the sport,” Karthikeyan observed. His signing by Jordan a month ago is linked to a combination of factors. Corporate sponsors being able to raise the necessary funds along with knowing the right people has helped his cause as much as his prowess behind the wheel.
“His relationship with Trevor (Carlin) is a major reason why he got the drive this time,” said Karthikeyan’s manager Sanjay Sharma, referring to the new sporting director at Team Jordan.
“Any technocrat would like to have a driver he can trust, and in this case they have a history of being together for the past six to seven years. Trevor has made all it possible.”
Carlin has a long history with Karthikeyan and that crucial factor could add to Jordan’s stability and reflect on his performance this year.
“Basically, I know the management very well. Because I raced for them in Formula Three and won races they believed in me,” Karthikeyan said.
“I’ve known Trevor since 1994 and he has become like my second family.
“Also the managing director Colin Kolles, I know pretty well and I think they convinced the new boss that I had the credentials to be a good driver.”