The Undying Spirit That Fuels Narain - The New Indian Express

The Undying Spirit That Fuels Narain

Published: 10th March 2014 06:00 AM

Last Updated: 10th March 2014 01:37 AM

“From the very beginning of my career, I believed I could be the first Indian driver in Formula One,” said Narain Karthikeyan, flaunting his now trademark broad smile. In a country where the government is yet to recognise Formula One as a sport, Narain has come a long way. Such is the confidence he radiates that one can’t help but think what level this driver could have reached had he made his career in another part of the world.

“At first, it was very difficult. But fortunately I performed well in Europe and the Tata Group came aboard,” Narain, who took time off his busy pre-season testing schedule at Japan for a brief visit to the city, told Express.

“I could have given up a long time ago. There was absolutely no infrastructure and as a 16-year-old, I moved to Europe, an unknown land away from family and friends,” he said, explaining why it is ‘relief’ and ‘success’ he identifies first with when asked about the feeling he had when he was seated in his Jordan for that maiden race in Australia in 2005.

Narain feels it is a burden that the upcoming Indian drivers will also have no respite from. “Especially with the Indian GP now out of the F1 calendar indefinitely, it will be even harder to find an Indian sponsor who is going to back you.”

Narain will reunite with Team Impul in the Super Formula series this season, after a gap of 13 years, and the ‘world’s fastest Indian’ is surprised by the strides the series has made in the meantime. “I always look for opportunities to win while choosing platforms. The cars in Formula Nippon are surprisingly as fast as the F1 cars,” said Narain, who has raced in NASCAR, Auto GP and the A1 GP.

Narain is also looking forward to the Formula E series where nations will be pitted against each other. “The concept of nations will attract more interest to motorsports,” he said.

Though handed lower-end cars in F1 stints, Narain was always pushing his machine to its limits, something reminiscent of his childhood idol Ayrton Senna. But will we see him on the F1 grid again? “Never say never,” Narain signed off.

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