Narain Karthikeyan, Williams, 2006

Narain Karthikeyan says he will return to F1 with HRT

2011 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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

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

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  1. *smacks forehead*

    1. I had the exact same reaction.

      Well.. I am partly to blame for Karthkeyan’s comeback. Last year, after Chandhok was replaced by Yamamoto, I told my friend – “HRT doesn’t care about who is driving the car. As long as they get paid, they would even sign someone as unworthy as Karthikeyan.”

      Sorry to have jinxed it. My sincerest apologies to all F1 fans around the world. I accept your criticism and insults.

      1. Shame on you for bringing this about, you gave Kolles the idea! ;-)

        How much he had to bring with him, and what car he will be driving is what I am now curious of.

    2. The Sri Lankan
      10th January 2011, 6:25

      i nearly fell off my chair…..

  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

    1. Wow Snobeck you have posted one probably just a milisecond before me

  3. ***?
    Hopefully he means its only for Indian GP

    1. That’s what I thought! I’d be very happy for him to make just a solitary guest appearance!

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

    1. Hear hear!

    2. 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.

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

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

    1. 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.

      1. Suddenly it seems worthwhile buying a lottery ticket doesn’t it!!

        1. Unfortunately even if you win the lottery you won’t be able to drive because FIA won’t give you a super-license. Your hours playing F1 in PlayStation probably doesn’t count as race experience.

          1. They gave one to Chandhok.

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

      1. COTD to sato113. Make it happen.

      2. @sato113. Hilarious. COTD in my opinion.

        1. I think Racers would work better than drivers because otherwise it would be HDT. Racers would make it HRT, but it is less accurate as pay-drivers are not racers. :)

      3. sorry i did actually mean Racers not drivers! lol

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

    1. probably FOTA or some other organization should put some tougher requirements to be a F1 pilot.. I mean, money is getting away the talent required to succeed in this sport. I’m sure fans would like more battling and less blue flags. The requirements could be in some kind of “neutral” car and track, such as Paul Ricard HTTT in a Toyota car… to set some average time in that track, if not, just stay away from F1!!! I think one of the best things (at least) for this year will be the 107% rule

      1. … and dreaming that F1 could NOT be about money and just about talent is a dream for free

      2. Isn’t there already such a thing in your super-license test?

    2. yeah what was the story behind that crash again?

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

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

    1. 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!

      1. 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?

        1. Anshumaan Tuteja
          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

        2. 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

    1. 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…

    2. 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.

      1. …And Nelson Piquet Jnr, if I remember rightly?

  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.

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

      1. 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!

        1. Sakon isn’t real talent.

          1. Sarcasm alert.

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

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

          2. Or Ricardo Rosset

          3. 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. Good god…does he have too come back?

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

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

    1. A kind of horse, with horns.

      1. JPM at the A1 ring!!! :P

    2. *insane laugh*

  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…

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. I can’t see him as third driver anywhere to be honest. That could be it for him as far as F1 is concerned. If Honda hadn’t dropped out, it could’ve been so, so different!

          1. Ben N,

            I always think, had Brawn GP picked him over Barrichello in 2009…

          2. …he would have done worse than Barrichello and probably not won any races.

          3. …worse, it would have affected Button’s performance in some races in not having Rubens car setup help. Vettel would posibly be a 2 time champion now.

          4. I think that’s the most disturbing thing I’ve ever heard.

    2. So we might see Albers and Doornbos making a return?

  15. 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
    6th January 2011, 17:28

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

    1. Anshumaan Tuteja
      6th January 2011, 17:44

      he has the bank balance..that will do lool

  17. Well go for him…

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

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

  19. 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.


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