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It will not be a repeat of this year: Narain

Shobha Warrier in Chennai | August 18, 2005 21:24 IST
Last Updated: August 18, 2005 21:41 IST

Cricketers small and big have endorsed products in the past, but sponsors have never been open and welcoming to other sportspersons. So it was not surprising that it took several years of hard work on the racing tracks, and almost a year after he turned Formula One driver, before Narain Karthikeyan got to lend his name to a product directly.

Narain Karthikeyan"To be honest, it is quite exciting to be endorsing a product," he declared, after launching 'Amaron PRO - NK Racing Edition' automotive batteries, in Chennai last week.

Karthikeyan also thanked Amaron Batteries for backing him and "believing in him, when he was a relatively unknown face".

Like his bright yellow Jordan jersey, the 'NK Racing Edition' is also brightly coloured, and carries his picture along with his signature across the label.

Karthiyean's message to all the Indian racing fans after launching the product was: 'Keep the NK Racing Edition in the car and feel racy!'

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Getting sponsors was a tough task for India's only Formula One driver even after being signed by Jordan. But Karthieyan, who is now negotiating not only with the Jordan team but other F1 teams also, said, "Things will be different next year. Though everything is open at the moment, it won't be a repeat of this year. Everybody has realised now that India is a huge market. So any team I will be associating myself with will speak to potential sponsors. Anyway, it won't be a repeat of this year."

Unlike his usual yellow F1 attire, Karthikeyan was dressed in black for the launch. All those who are part of motor racing in India -- Vicky and Karun Chandhok, Akbar Ebrahim and his 16-year0old son Armaan -- were all there in Chennai to applaud India's fastest man on wheels.

Regarding the six more races that await him this season, Karthikeyan said, "Though I started well, I went through a bad patch in the middle. Hopefully, the next six races will be better."

About India's future in racing, he named Chandhok as the most promising, "Though he has had a bad 2005 so far, he performed very well as a Formula 3 driver."

There is also the 16-year-old Ebrahim waiting to take off. Karthikeyan was also of the opinion that the days of Michael Schumacher are not over yet.

"Schumacher is Schumacher. He has been the champion for seven long years, and you can't write him off just like that because he didn't perform well this season. The new rules obviously hit Ferrari badly, but his reign is not over yet. Yes, it is true that viewership has gone up after the reign of Schumacher is over. Now the championship is open, and that's what makes it more exciting."

Photograph: Sreeram Selvaraj


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