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Karthikeyan to continue as brand ambassador

November 15, 2005 10:50 IST

Narayan Karthikeyan will continue to be the ambassador for the seven brands he endorses, even though India's first ever Formula One driver looks certain to lose his place in the Midland, formerly Jordan, team next season.

The companies that support Karthikeyan may be counting on his bagging a place in another team. That can also be crucial for the sport in the country. "For F1 to gain popularity in India, it is imperative to have an Indian driver," said the boss of a leading sports broadcaster.

A close associate of Karthikeyan said the seven companies whose brands he was endorsing had different contract periods, which would not be changed over the chances of his not being an F1 driver next season. JK Tyres, Tata Group, Bharat Petroleum, Amron (batteries), Reebok, JCB and Raymond are the seven brands that Karthikeyan is currently endorsing.

The associate also said Karthikeyan would be spending the weekend in England and was expected to associate himself with another team as its third driver. "An announcement to this effect can come by Tuesday or Wednesday," said the associate.

A sum in excess of $5 million, raised partly though brand endorsements in India, has been used for the F1 driver's participation in the 2005 season.

"He has been in the circuit for a decade now and has a long session (career in F1) ahead," said this associate. He added that the endorsement deals Karthikeyan had signed with the seven companies were not related to him being an F1 driver.
S Kalyana Ramanathan in New Delhi