Narain Karthikeyan says he will return to F1 with HRT

2011 F1 season

Narain Karthikeyan, Williams, 2006

Narain Karthikeyan, Williams, 2006

Former F1 driver Narain Karthikeyan claims he will make a comeback with HRT in 2011.

Karthikeyan told Autocar India he will be on the grid in time for the inaugural Indian Grand Prix this year:

I have worked really hard to come back to F1 and it will be a dream come true to race in front of the home crowd in our country?s debut Grand Prix. I hope that the Indian public will spur me on with their blessings and good wishes.
Narain Karthikeyan

Karthikeyan previously raced in F1 with Jordan in 2005. The team was run by current HRT team principal Colin Kolles at the time. Karthikeyan later joined Williams as a reserve driver.

Karthikeyan said on Twitter:

Back in F1 in 2011. Signed a deal to race for HRT. I’ve always maintained that my time in F1 was not over and now making good on that promise.

Huge thanks to my long-time supporters in the Tata Group. Their support has been instrumental.
Narain Karthikeyan

Fellow Indian Karun Chandhok drove for HRT in the first half of 2010.

View the list of 2011 F1 drivers and teams.

Image ?? Williams/LAT

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143 comments on Narain Karthikeyan says he will return to F1 with HRT

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  1. Snobeck said on 6th January 2011, 16:43

    *smacks forehead*

  2. hahaha I commet this one to be the first in at least one post!!! Now going serious… Kartikheyan is ont the best to improve that team. Just like a little older Chankdok I think

  3. NickV said on 6th January 2011, 16:45

    Hopefully he means its only for Indian GP

  4. If Karthikeyan gets a race this year and Chandhok doesn’t, I will go ballistic.

    • Woffin said on 6th January 2011, 17:10

      Hear hear!

    • Cacarella (@cacarella) said on 6th January 2011, 19:22

      He may have the seat, but it doesn’t guarantee
      he’ll ever race. With the 107% rule, he’ll probably practice a lot, and then do some laps in Q1.

      • Todfod (@todfod) said on 6th January 2011, 20:50

        The 107% rule will keep Karthikeyan from racing. Whether he is signed for an entire season or just for 1 GP, I really doubt he will make the cut for the Sunday race on any occassion. Karthikeyan was without a doubt one of the worst drivers to ever enter the sport.. he pretty much shares the spotlight with Yuji Ide.

        I’m disappointed that Chandhok didn’t get the drive and Karthikeyan did… I guess we have to thank TATA and their sponsorship money for that.

  5. fahadalam007 (@fahadalam007) said on 6th January 2011, 16:49

    Come on!!!!First Sakon and then him!!!!But got to say he is a nice driver

  6. Meander said on 6th January 2011, 16:50

    Welcome to the HRT Carousel! Please buy your tickets at the counter and wait in line.

    • topdowntoedown (@topdowntoedown) said on 6th January 2011, 17:21

      To be honest, I’m starting to think that my dream of driving an F1 car isn’t over after all. I might be 30, and a bit on the lardy side, but I have an impeccable racing record – in fact, I’ve never lost a race!* I could probably scrape together a few hundred quid too.

      So, Mr Kolles, if you’re watching – I can get a couple of weeks off in July, can I race the HRT at Silverstone?

      *I haven’t entered any either.

    • sato113 said on 6th January 2011, 20:00

      HRT- ‘Hiring Drivers TODAY!’
      its just an advert.

  7. Dan Thorn (@dan-thorn) said on 6th January 2011, 16:52

    Fantastic, a driver who somehow managed to crash on the back straight at Shanghai. Just what we need in F1!

  8. Anshumaan Tuteja said on 6th January 2011, 16:56

    Unbelievable comeback by narain!!!!
    i think he’ll be faster than karun Chandhok for sure..

    • Truly unbeliveable, I can’t believe I’m reading this!!!

      Will Karun also be able to get into the grid? 2 Indians in F1…I’m speechless!

      • Wait a minute…

        Does that mean he’ll say goodbye to his NASCAR Truck career. At the beginning of the year he was tweeting about the incredible experience of NASCAR, his team was saying to the effect that they’ll train him to get all the way up to the Sprint Cup in a few years. They were counting on support from Indian fans in the USA. Where’s all this going to end up?

        • Anshumaan Tuteja said on 7th January 2011, 4:55

          did he say he’ll stay the whole season??
          nobody stays the whole season at hrt!!!

          and i’m pretty sure karun wud nt be able to make it atleast nt at hrt perhaps a FI test driver?? bt what abt Paul di Resta then?

          p.s. in a pvt test session coducted by FI in december last year on simulators narain was joined by none other than Karun Chandhok! and 1 of them was faster by a full second..reports say Karun was quicker and if thats the case, hrt are gearing up to be at the very back again

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 7th January 2011, 6:27

          Maybe they will now put Chandhok in that role? The fans will love his comments after the races.

  9. He won an award for the most popular person in NASCAR for 2010. What is it with these Indian. Drivers being so popular?? Have this guy (i can’t spell his name) and chandhok and formula one will be the worlds most popular sport

    • topdowntoedown (@topdowntoedown) said on 6th January 2011, 17:23

      Have you ever seen Cricinfo when there’s an article about Tendulkar? A hundred million Indians descend on it with their opinions. I suspect a similar phenomenon occurs whenever there’s a popularity vote…

    • YeaMon said on 7th January 2011, 0:20

      Only in the truck series, which has such low of a talent level all it is a bunch of washed up Nascar vets mixed with young guys who will never make it.

  10. snowman (@snowman) said on 6th January 2011, 17:10

    Well at least that clears it up. Didn’t know who to put my money on for next years F1 champion. Now Narain is back he’s going to deliver BIGTIME. Formula one 2011 world champion Narain Karthikeyan. Great odds, great bet, don’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to make some big bucks fellow punters.

    • He will have to fight closely with his soon to be announced team-mate – Sakon Yamamoto.

      • Tom L. (@tom-l) said on 6th January 2011, 19:43

        I heard Yuji Ide had got a good sponsorship package together and Sakon was getting dropped… isn’t it sad how real talent isn’t being given a chance in F1 any more!

        • Spaulding (@spaulding) said on 6th January 2011, 19:54

          Sakon isn’t real talent.

        • Todfod (@todfod) said on 6th January 2011, 20:53

          Sakon must be thrillled .. there will actually be someone he can outqualify, and possibly lap during a race.

          • Mike said on 7th January 2011, 1:51

            Hell at this stage I wouldn’t be surprised if Andrea Montemini makes a comeback mid season.

          • Todfod (@todfod) said on 7th January 2011, 7:15

            Or Ricardo Rosset

          • PT (@pt) said on 7th January 2011, 14:35

            I think Keith would agree with me that one season with Jordan doesn’t give us enough to classify him as the worst driver around. What else could he do with a Jordan.

            He was crash prone, but he was generally quicker than Tiago Monteiro, his team-mate. I know Monteiro is no great talent, but I think most of you are too premature in ruling Narain out. I think we should give him the benefit of a doubt since he hasn’t been in a competitive team long enough in F1 to prove or disprove anything.

            2011 won’t give us a chance to judge Narain’s true performance either. He has been out of F1 for too long so he won’t have much of a chance to get to grips with the car, if there is going to be one, and HRT aren’t going to be high up in the developmental race again. And as the season wears on most of you will be thinking, “Weren’t we right all along?”

            But there hasn’t been and probably never will be a true chance to gauge Narain’s talent. He isn’t PR savvy and seems to have some pride, unlike Karun. But that shouldn’t cloud the judgement.

            True insiders who’ve known both Karun and Narain and seen them come up the ranks actually rate the latter as the fastest, in terms of raw speed. And in F3 he was right up there with Takumo Sato and Anthony Davidson in Carlin as one of the best.

            If you really want to know about Narain’s talent you need to ask Trevor Carlin who ran him in British F3 and World Series. And you can’t blame Colin Kolles for taking in Narain as Kolles truly knows Narain’s capabilities from his Jordan and Le Mans Series outings with the Kolles Audi R10 TDI in 2009.

            He hasn’t had sit-up-and-take-notice results but stats don’t give the whole picture. It’s too much to classify him as an also-ran. Comparing him to Deletraz and Yamamoto…you guys are way off the mark.

            He may not be impressive this year. But if so it wouldn’t be because he isn’t good enough, but because he has been away for too long.

  11. RIISE (@riise) said on 6th January 2011, 17:11

    Good god…does he have too come back?

  12. Lenny said on 6th January 2011, 17:12

    If I win the lotto, I’d be giving Colin Kolles a call!

  13. newnhamlea1 (@newnhamlea1) said on 6th January 2011, 17:17

    Oh deer. That is all I can possibly say, and yes, I did just make an in-joke.

  14. Is Kolles bringing all his previous drivers ‘back’
    Fees applicable.
    Mind you would you really want to pay to drive that car?
    Someone said ‘it’s still a F1 car and it’s better than any other car on the road…well, it’s not racing ‘on the road’ is it?, it’s on a track with far superior F1 cars…I rest my case…

    • In all seriousness though… does he bring enough sponsorship to leave the seat open for either Senna or Klien? Or will they have to draft in Yamamoto?

      I think this means the end of Chandhok at HRT, can’t see them fielding two Indians.

      • SirCoolbeans (@sircoolbeans) said on 6th January 2011, 17:26

        I doubt we will ever see Senna racing for HRT again. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him announced as a third driver for another team at some point.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 7th January 2011, 6:28

      So we might see Albers and Doornbos making a return?

  15. Calum (@calum) said on 6th January 2011, 17:21

    Just another journeyman F1 driver with a large bank account and nothing else to spend his earnings on.

    I guess it gives HRT the chance of selling tons of merchandise for the Indian GP when they have 2 Indian drivers – although I highly doubt either will be the favoured choice that far into the season….

  16. HounslowBusGarage said on 6th January 2011, 17:28

    When was the last time Narain actually drove an F1 car? And does he still have a Super Licence?

  17. Nathan said on 6th January 2011, 17:49

    Well go for him…

  18. sw6569 (@sw6569) said on 6th January 2011, 17:51

    …am I the only one who thought he wasn’t actually that bad? Certainly not Yamamoto or Nakajima ‘bad’

    • Tom L. (@tom-l) said on 6th January 2011, 19:47

      Nakajima is better in my opinion. I can’t imagine Karthikeyan scoring as many (few?) points for Williams, I must admit.

  19. Dev (@dev) said on 6th January 2011, 17:52

    good for him, but at one point he did say sometime around 2008 he was not keen on joining the back-markers like force india. now he is paying for a drive with HRT.

  20. Antranik (@antranik) said on 6th January 2011, 18:05


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