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Narain waiting for F1 call up
July 05, 2004 18:44 IST
As he watched numero uno Michael Schumacher blaze through the Magny-Cours circuit in France to glory, Narain Karthikeyan -- the best Indian bet to race alongside the German in the near future -- was quietly confident that a call from Formula One could come any time.
"I'm still confident of breaking into Formula One. The call may come any time but I'm not unduly worried about it," Narain said while enjoying the French Grand Prix on a big screen as part of a promotional programme organised by his sponsors JK Tyres in New Delh on Sunday.
The fastest Indian, who is now one of the top contenders in the World Series by Nissan, also referred to as Formula 2, was also not feeling uneasy over the fact that so many young drivers are pushing hard around the world to get into the elite circuit.
"Look, so many great drivers have made their entry into Formula One even at the age of thirty. So I am still hopeful," said the 27-year-old Tata RC Motorsport driver sporting a World Series T-shirt and jeans.
Narain's immediate aim is get into the F-1 even if it is with low profile teams. "I don't mind whether it is Minardi (the Italian F-1 team) or any one else. The important thing is to get in and then look to progress."
Besides testing with Minardi, Narain had test drives with leading F-1 teams Jordan and Jaguar. If he makes it into F-1, Narain would be the second Asian after Japanese Takuma Sato of BAR Honda to make the elite grade.
"Sato, currently No. 7 in F-1, was with me in the Formula-3. But he moved up becuase he was sponsored by Honda, one of the constructors in F-1," Narain said.
Moving towards television screen for a closer look at the start of the French Grand Prix, Narain said: "On May 22 I had won on this (Magny-Cours) circuit. It is a challenging track with a lot of sharp turns."
Asked about any F-1 driver questioning the supermacy of the Ferrari pro, Narain said: "There is a wide gap between Schumacher and other drivers. He is class apart."
The Indian, now sixth in the overall standings in the World Series, after missing out a podium finish at Valencia, Spain last month, is hoping for an improved performance in the remaining five rounds.
"I want to finish in the top two," Narain said. His next race is in Lausitz, Germany on August 8. The World Series will come to an end with the ninth and last round in Zuhuhai, China on October 31.
Looking back at the challenges he had faced enroute to glory, Narain felt the road blocks came as he was the pioneer of the sport in India.
"I am the pioneer in this field. So I had difficulties in getting sponsors. But the situation is now changing and the upcoming youngsters will find it more easy to find support," he said.
On promising young Indian talent, Narain was looking forward to 15-year-old Adnan Ibrahim, who is making waves in the national go-karting circuit.
"He will make it real big," Narain said.
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