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Narain eyes test driver's spot with Williams
September 12, 2006 18:46 IST
Narain Karthikeyan says he is keen to make the most of the big shake-up in the offing in Formula 1 but would prefer a more prominent role with Williams in the next season.
Motorsports' elite event is set for a reshuffle with Kimi Raikkonen set to take Michael Schumacher's seat at Ferrari and defending champion Fernando Alonso in turn filling the Finn's slot at McLaren in 2007.
That would give enough scope for manoeuvring for other drivers, but the 'Fastest Indian on Wheels' is content to aim at the official test driver's slot at the British team.
"That (racing) will be the ideal thing... But I would like to take Alex Wurz's position," the 29-year-old said over phone from Coimbatore.
Austrian Wurz, Williams's current test driver, will be promoted as one of the two race drivers following Mark Webber's decision to depart.
Karthikeyan's preference to stay with Williams is a sign of growing maturity.
A test driver's role with a leading team will give him better opportunity to learn the nuances of driving an advanced car.
More importantly, it will give him visibility on racing weekends -- which he doesn't get as the second test driver -- and thus more mileage for his sponsors.
And if Williams were to pay him a handsome salary, as they did to Wurz, it would mark Karthikeyan as the first pro F1 driver from India.
A final decision on that should be known sooner than later.
"I am in discussion. We will come to know about it in a few weeks' time," India's first F1 driver said.
In the mean time, the Chennai-born will be busy with a four-day testing programme at Silverstone from September 19 to 22.
The next round of testing will be in October end.
And he plans to be in Chennai on September 24 to cheer his own team that will be racing in the second race of the inaugural Formula Rolon.
His busy schedule means that the launch of his motorsports academy would be possible only at the start of the new year.
"It will depend on the winter testing schedule and my F1 commitments. Most probably it would be in January after the end of the national championship, which has it last race on December 25," he said.
Formula One: The Complete Coverage