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

Advert | Go Ad-free

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

  1. James said on 6th January 2011, 23:32

    Doesnt state what kind of comeback it will be, could be a testing role for all we know… Seems odd for a driver to announce his place on the grid for 2011, before the team announces said driver.

  2. Andy2286 (@andy2286) said on 6th January 2011, 23:46

    At first glance, I thought our friend Keith was playing an early April fool’s joke on us… unfortunately, this doesnt seem to be the case.

    On the other hand, it’s nice to see Colin Kolles has no problem’s to see his team finish last and has made the effort to cement this… or maybe he just want’s Bruno to look better then he really is.

  3. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 7th January 2011, 2:01

    I am surprised but one of the main reason why he got the ticket is that he is sponsored by Tata Group the company who owns Jaguar & Land Rover.

  4. Dave Blanc said on 7th January 2011, 3:06

    No doubt we can expect more of this….
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICgIsYeKD_M&feature=related

  5. Being indian happy to see that an indian is again racing in F1 but like many others i feel this is very short sighted decision from HRT. Chandok would have been more valuable in longterm as he is much better driver & has better PR skills to connect with people. I don’t see what value Narian gives to struggling HRT in developing car considering he hardly had any top level racing experience in last 5yrs. As had been case with HRT throughout 2010, in the end it seems money mattered and i am still wondering how many races narian is gng to participate (other than Indian GP) or he is part of 5-6 drivers HRT is gng to sign for 2011? Happy that atleast FI’s mallya is not falling in to this trap of money or nationality.

  6. Gill said on 7th January 2011, 3:49

    It feels good to hear one more Indian will drive in F1 but as soon as I see cars fighting at the front and drivers of the caliber of Alonso, Ham and Vettel, I really dont care if an Indian is driving or not.

    He is backed by the wealthy TATA group and that tells the story. Maybe Karun will be a test driver now.

    • Why does an Indian have to drive in F1?

      If F1 is the creme de la creme of motorsport – does it not make sense for the sport to attract only the BEST drivers in the world?

      The problem with F1, is the supporters starting to think and therefore agree with the corporate whore logic that is presently being applied, thus condoning it.

      Buying a seat in F1! Like some prostitute buying a window in Amsterdam’s Red Light District. Exactly the same – no different.

      The sport does not need more money – it needs higher standards and quality or respect and value will belong to bygone era.

      • Faraz said on 7th January 2011, 9:29

        Why does an Indian have to drive in F1?

        I think that is verging on the racial discrimination side be careful what you say.

        • Faraz,

          It is either racial discrimination or it is not? I think exactly the same of Petrov, am I still racist? I believe in a system of merit, or we have no quality and no values – and not being a corporate whore which this Indian is.

          Rest assured, the most racist people that I have ever met, are not white!

          The only reason why an Indian is driving in F1, is not because of his ability, because he is proven S***, but because the GP1 is allegedly being held in India later this year, and there is Indian money behind him – no other reason or perhaps he is quite high up in the racist Indian Caste System!

  7. Chris said on 7th January 2011, 3:55

    It’s surprised me but I can fully understand the signing. HRT need cash and they need it now. We don’t yet know the details of the deal but if it includes a significant amount of money it might just allow the second driver to be someone with some real quality who can get what is possibly going to be a very poor car through qualifying and get some results.

    I don’t remember Karthikeyan being too bad. If I remember correctly back in the Jordan days he got up to speed quickly and had the measure of Montiero for the first half of the year but just never really improved from there. I fear in 2011 though that it’s going to take a real talent to qualify a HRT at every race. More so even then the likes of Klien and Senna.

  8. checkpoint10 (@checkpoint10) said on 7th January 2011, 4:05

    What’s with all the harsh criticism? Karthikeyan was a frontrunner in F3, did well at Macau, won a couple international events, and won races in A1GP and Superleague as recently as last year. His only ride in F1 was a hopelessly slow Jordan. Sure, he might not be the best driver available, and he’s not going to do any better in an HRT, but he’s far from being the worst driver ever as some people have suggested.

  9. The Last Pope (@the-last-pope) said on 7th January 2011, 4:08

    re: Keith’s article on the Dec 15th – Kolles: drivers “the only reason” Lotus beat HRT.

    Ah it does make sense. We have a new class of driver. These are not just pay drivers but scapegoat pay drivers. Drivers who agree to take the blame for being so slow. A last ditch F1 career effort, a do or die season.

    I guess Kolles wants to use the same excuse again after this season. By hiring the worst posible drivers with super licences it goes some way in hiding the fact that the car wouldn’t actually be capable of making the 107% qualifying time even with a driving god at the wheel.

    Come december 2011 we will read – Kolles: Drivers “The only reason we never raced”

  10. Peckers96 said on 7th January 2011, 4:13

    Love him or hate him, Joe Saward has an interesting theory about the second HRT seat. He’s suggesting that Vijay Mallaya may have to “buy” the HRT seat for Liuzzi as the only conceivable way to make room for Di Resta at Force India.

    Liuzzi + Karthikeyan + HRT = AWESOME!!!!!! (That’s sarcasm, by the way)

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 7th January 2011, 6:46

      Well Liuzzi would be pretty good for HRT, he surely has the capacity to bring some input into that car and should be able to get it going as far as it goes.

      Not sure he would be all to happy about it, though.

  11. manatcna said on 7th January 2011, 4:16

    The Indian GP (October 30) is quite late in the season.

    I wonder how much TATA is paying for one race (Or at the very best, three)

    • Sijs said on 7th January 2011, 5:03

      Bet won’t happen… Spending on one F1 season isn’t that great a deal for the TATA group, they have loads of it… In fact they have been sponsoring Narain for about 10 years now with almost nil returns, so they probably see this year as one big opportunity with the Indian gp around… Hope its not just about money though,these guys help FI with CFD, have developed some kind of software for Ferrari in the past and own Jaguar, so they are not entirely dumb… I would also liked them to have backed Karun instead but for some reason they haven’t associated with Karun or with Mallya for that matter… May be return of Jaguar in 2013???

  12. Jay Menon said on 7th January 2011, 4:49

    I dont think Narain was all that bad..he ranks among the worse but I think there are quite a few below him on the list.

    I thought he had a pretty decent early part of the season in 05, he was ahead of his teamate if memory serves me right. His form went down hill in the second half.

    Whatever said and done, he is not good enough to be in F1. Sad that Karun is not getting the backing, because I think that he has what it takes to develop into a decent driver given a reasonable team

  13. Excellent

    I hope Chandhok gets the second drive and we will have the first ever India vs India battle, they can race for their own title with a show down in India

    My prediction

    Chandhok would smash Karthikeyan by making the 107% rule …just

  14. Baldry 888 said on 7th January 2011, 6:43

    2012 HRT driver line-up (assuming they make it that far)Bill gates signed alongside Donald trump.

  15. pseudohendrix (@pseudohendrix) said on 7th January 2011, 7:55

    Yes!

    I always like Karthikeyan’s unnecessarily untidy driving style. He was about the most slideways driver in the field in 2005. Looking forward to some more spectacular overdriving!

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.