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On track, but no drive, for Narain

2011-10-26 06:48

NARAIN KARTHIKEYAN: India's first F1 driver will be at that country's GP - but won't race.

Indian driver Narain Karthikeyan is looking forward to a highlight of his career when Formula 1 makes its debut in India on Sunday.

"This will be my greatest day," said Karthikeyan, 34, the only driver of Indian descent competing in Sunday's race.


He drives for the struggling Hispania Racing Team but nevertheless intends to enjoy the occasion.

"I want to finish the race," he said. "My first opponent will be my team mate (Daniel Ricciardo) and maybe we can attack the other new teams," said. "The circuit does not particularly suit our car but I will be giving my best, for the huge support alone.

"I am so happy to be driving here. It's something I couldn't expect a couple of years ago."

Karthikeyan, who became India's first F1 driver in 2005, said F1 was gaining in popularity in India and the race at the new Buddh International Circuit would be sold out - though figures over the past couple of days have not supported that idea.


"Everybody is really keen to see how it will be. There are a lot of fans. I think it will be pretty good," he said. "To hold a race in India is something special for everyone. The people in India will see what an incredible amount of work and technology goes into F1. It will give them a completely new perspective.

"We Indian drivers hope that this positive marketing will help us in the next few years. India is a growing economic power in the world and many companies want to be in this global market. F1 could be a good platform for them."

Home fans were also hoping to see a second Indian driver on Sunday but Lotus tester Karun Chandhok will not drive; the team has retained its regular line-up of Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli.

Chandhok, however, will drive the car during Friday's opening practice session.


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