HRT confirm Karthikeyan in team for 2011

2011 F1 season

Narain Karthikeyan, Williams, 2007

Narain Karthikeyan, Williams, 2007

HRT has confirmed Narain Karthikeyan will drive for the team in 2011.

Team principal Colin Kolles said:

It is a great pleasure for us to have signed Narain Karthikeyan as our race driver for the 2011 Formula 1 World Championship.

I have known Narain for a long time and he can revert to the experiences he gained when he was competing for Jordan Grand Prix and being test and reserve driver for Williams F1. Narain has also been driving in other racing series and running in one of the legendary Audi sports cars in the Le Mans Series.

I am sure that his experience and speed will be very useful for the team during the season. We are welcoming Narain to our team and we look forward to working closely with him this year.
Colin Kolles

Karthikeyan added:

It?s been a while in the making, but I am extremely happy to be racing again in Formula 1 in 2011.

I have always maintained that I have not given up on my desire to return to the pinnacle of world motorsport. I am confident that I still have the pace, the fitness and the will to succeed in Formula 1.

I?m looking forward to racing for Hispania Racing, and to working again with Dr. Colin Kolles. We have a long standing and excellent working relationship together. I?m also looking forward to racing at the first ever Indian Grand Prix in October, and I hope that the Indian public will spur me on with their blessings and good wishes.
Narian Karthikeyan

View the list of 2011 F1 drivers and teams.

Image ?? Williams/LAT

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128 comments on HRT confirm Karthikeyan in team for 2011

  1. smifaye (@smifaye) said on 7th January 2011, 8:59

    He’s looking forward to the Indian GP, he will probably be replaced by someone like Ralph Firman! Why is it that only bad drivers bring sponsorship because thats clearly the only thing HRT is looking for.

    Does noone else bring any sponsorship, someone good?

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 7th January 2011, 9:04

      Well it is said that Di Grassi has pretty solid funding and Duchman Van der Garde is supposed to have an interesting bag of money speaking for him, LOL.

      With HRT, they are probably still collecting enough to get a car out at all before the season gets going. So actually them signing a driver with a good “commercial package” is very hopefull. Lets just hope it does not end like USF1 did last year after signing Lopez with Argentinian money.

      Still it might be some fun watching Karthikeyan again turning a wheel in F1.

      • verstappen said on 7th January 2011, 9:17

        Van der Garde gave up on the idea to drive F1 next year and is focussing on GP2. He signed again for Barwa Addax. He just needs to become champion to have his chances upped!

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 7th January 2011, 9:22

          So next year, after he wins (if he wins) GP2 he will be the premier candidate for the HRT drive, LOL great prospect.

          • Time may come when we will pay 1000$ and will get a lap in HRT car….

            I may get a job at HRT for this idea. lol

      • jimscreechy (@) said on 7th January 2011, 11:05

        Personally I don’t think HRT will even make the grid with a new car. I bet they will have last years care on the 2011 grid, and I dont’ think they will make it to the end of the season.

      • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 7th January 2011, 20:23

        It won’t be another USF1, because in a worst case scenario HRT can just run last year’s car with some minor updates to comply with the 2011 specs. Of course I suppose it’s possible that they won’t even accomplish that…

        • I agree, They remind me very much of Minardi, Which is one reason I can’t understand why people don’t like them. I’m mean sure, they are as slow as… a budgie. But at least they are giving it a shot. I mean, Toyota amongst others pulled out when things got slightly harder, So if HRT thought like them, they wouldn’t even attempt to survive next year.

          • I can totally understand Kolles picking Narian, He has money, which for them is a necessity. He also has experience (even if it’s of going slowly), something that is incredibly hard to find.

        • McGregski (@mcgregski) said on 7th January 2011, 22:57

          If they do manage to accomplish that surely the 107% rule will reduce them to nothing more than quali at each race… which will lead to sponsors leaving and a car sat in a garage going nowhere.

          If they really do have a major sponsor to reveal I hope to god that they pay the cash to Toyota to use the TF110 for this season

    • Why should we have cheap pay drivers. I’m an Indian, but I firmly believe that he had his fair shot at F1 and failed. He was thrashed by Taigo Montiero. Noob does not deserve drive. Anyone else agree??

      • Burnout said on 7th January 2011, 19:58

        I disagree. In races that both of them finished, Monteiro was ahead 7-6. And usually the lower placed driver was only one or two places back. Yes, Monteiro did better over the course of the season, but Narain was faster from the get go. In the end there wasn’t too much between them.

    • Good Drivers want to be paid… Apu Karthikeyan doesn’t (doesn’t he look like Apu? Chandook doesn’t…So that will be fun…Let’s get Moe in too, he could sell his bar…

      • mfDB (@mfdb) said on 7th January 2011, 20:00

        Or Monty Burns, I’m sure he has the cash. He may need some fitness training, but he has the cash for that too….

        • Istallion said on 8th January 2011, 12:15

          How about Sylvester Stallone? He may be old but he has the money and also did some training when filming “Driven”, that should be enough to be race fit.

          • Speed Damon said on 9th January 2011, 11:55

            Or Schwarzneger, while we’re on the subject. If I saw Arnie coming up in my rear mirrors I’d get out of the way.

  2. I thought his days in F1 was over.. He’s back!? Hmmmm Do you think he can still drive? To the wall? :)

  3. Cristian (@cristian) said on 7th January 2011, 9:00

    I’m sorry to say this but there goes another seat to a bad driver, while Nick Heidfeld and Nico Hulkenberg don’t have drives for next year…

    • Heidfeld and Hulkenberg wouldn’t want to drive for HRT – Hulkenberg needs a midfield team (ie: Force India) to further impress. Heidfeld would only take a top drive, which, we all know, won’t happen now.

      Although I agree with your sentiments, a shame they are left on the sidelines, but if this pay driver money is keeping the team afloat, then I’d rather that than only 11 teams…

      • Cristian (@cristian) said on 7th January 2011, 9:18

        I agree with you but this is the last of this trend of pay drivers and I don’t like it at all . It just adds to the frustration .

        • It is very frustrating when you have drivers of the calibre of Heidfeld and Hulkenberg sitting on the side, but if they are necessary, then they have to do it…

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 7th January 2011, 9:36

      I’m sorry to say this but there goes another seat to a bad driver, while Nick Heidfeld and Nico Hulkenberg don’t have drives for next year…

      If Heidfeld and Hulkenberg don’t have drives, then that’s their own stupid fault. Heidfeld had his heart set on a Mercedes drive, and didn’t both speaking to anyone until after Schumacher was confirmed there, leaving him with no options. He might have made a comeback with Sauber, but he admitted to struggling with the heavy cars. He’s only got a season in him at the most – he can’t race forever – so it’s probably better to quit with his dignity intact.

      As for Hulkenberg, he was offered a seat at Hispania, and decided not to taken it. Instead, he’s tryig to get a drive at either Force India or Toro Rosso – the only teams left with any (official) vacancies, and both of which have close relationships with all their drivers. He’s the architect of his own destruction.

      • Slightly harsh, but to some extents I agree, Heidfeld felt he had done enough to prove himself in midfield teams, so set his sights on top team or bust. In the end it came to bust. He just isn’t interested in driving at the back anymore, which is understandable.

        Hulkenberg will get more from a third driver role at Force India than a race driver at HRT – think Hakkinen at McLaren 1993.

        • Burnout said on 7th January 2011, 20:05

          Unfortunately the new in-season testing ban means Hulkenberg won’t see too much action behind the wheel as a test driver. It’s a shame really. He could do brilliantly after a period of apprenticeship at a top team, like Massa in ’05.

          • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 7th January 2011, 20:33

            Except that Force India was the team that gave the most time behind the wheel to their 3rd driver, so as far as test/reserve driver seats go, Force India is probably the one to land.

          • Burnout said on 7th January 2011, 20:36

            True, but I don’t know how much good all those free practice sessions did for Paul di Resta, career-wise. If Force India give di Resta a race seat this year, I’ll agree with you.

      • Soumya Banerjee said on 7th January 2011, 12:54

        Heidfeld talented? Wow how many more chances does he have to be given? He is simply not fast enough,even if he manages to take his car to the finish line usually. And he doesnt have age on his side either.
        As for Hulkenberg,it is a shame. This pay driver trend is making me turn away from F1. I hope no more nasty surprises are in store.

        • I disagree, I think he has acheived everything asked of him at every team. Finishes nearly every race, beaten nearly every team-mate!

          • People keep arguing about Heidfeld vs Kubica, So I think that says a lot for how good Heidfeld is.

  4. Now everyone will have to remember how to say and pronounce his name again, for all of what will end up being about 4 races. And for some reason he seems to think that just because he has a seat at HRT in January dosen’t mean he’ll have a seat at HRT come Sunday, 30th October. Unless Bernie’s had a word.

  5. it’s such a shame that sponsorship money is more important to the teams than talent.

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 7th January 2011, 11:25

      Whats a bigger shame is the lack of knowledge on the part of these corporates. They should do a little research, or hire people who are good at allocating sponsorship funds. Karthikeyan’s career is dead, while Chandhok, a marginally more promising driver, has just begun his career in F1.

      But anyone who is familiar with the way TATA works, will know that their ignorance in this matter comes as no surprise.

      • Burnout said on 7th January 2011, 20:07

        Oh, and you’re familiar with how Tata works?

        Seriously, if you are I’d like to know. Not being sarcastic here.

        • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 7th January 2011, 22:49

          Apparently there are two factions in India when it comes to motor racing, one supported Karthikeyan and the other Chandhok. So I’m not too surprised they passed over Chandhok, it was probably for political reasons.

        • Todfod (@todfod) said on 8th January 2011, 6:43

          Yes. I was working for TCS (Tata Consultancy services) for a year. I really do not want to get into the details of how that organisation is running.

  6. HounslowBusGarage said on 7th January 2011, 9:03

    I just had to check his age again. He’s 33 already. Am I right in thinking that he hasn’t actually raced F1 since 2005?
    He must have brought a mighty big cheque with him.

    • Yep, 2005 with Jordan – opposite Tiago Monteiro. The only thing I remember of the two, was that it was Monteiro that seized the opportunity of a third place when it was gifted in America, not Narain.

      • glue said on 7th January 2011, 9:13

        and Monteiro finished every race that season and also had one more points finish than *current HRT driver whose name I won’t bother trying to spell*

  7. I can’t help but think that the Indian GP will be bringing the team massive sponsorship because of Karthikeyan.

    Personally, as nice a chap as i’m sure he is, I don’t think he’s the right choice for the team. At least keeping Yamamoto (I know he’s useless!) would have given the illusion of stability, but, as others have alluded to, it looks nothing more than a round-a-bout now!

  8. I’ll repeat my pondering from yesterday (comment of the day no less ;) ) about the identity of his team-mate.

    My guess is another pay driver…

  9. Adam said on 7th January 2011, 9:17

    I never thought I would say it about any team, but I wish HRT would just fold and go away. At least Lotus carried themselves well and have a clear target and look like their on the right track. Virgin are trying something different with the CFD, where as HRT are just a joke

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 7th January 2011, 11:52

      Agree. Stefan GP should have got that last entry instead of HRT

      • Adrian J (@adrian-j) said on 7th January 2011, 18:19

        Stefan GP were not a serious outfit, they were just as much a game of smoke and mirrors as USF1, though you have to give whoever did their PR points for making everyone thing they were serious.

    • Mike said on 8th January 2011, 0:31

      I’d like to see you take over a team at the 11th hour, inheriting a terrible car, no facilities, two complete rookies with little or no budget and still mange to complete all the races and compete the next year.

      I suspect the way your thinking works, is that your favourite driver is the one who is winning.

      • Todfod (@todfod) said on 8th January 2011, 7:26

        I think the point that Adam is trying to make, is that teams started at the last minute, with a terrible car, no facilities, two complete rookies and no budget, do not deserve to be in the sport… or are a ‘joke’. He has a very valid point.

        • Mike said on 9th January 2011, 5:42

          explain “deserve”.

          Personally, I like the underdog to be given a fair crack.

          • Tango (@tango) said on 12th January 2011, 12:55

            I actually think he said that while the three teams have started with a similar hand, HRT have not managed to end up with a convincing case that their approach / goal / work / results is on par with the others.

  10. verstappen said on 7th January 2011, 9:22

    Hindu’s Ride Tata?

    • Rooney said on 7th January 2011, 10:14

      Hindu is a word used to denote people of a parcticular religion called hinduism. Just like “christians”, “muslims”…etc. It is not a nationality.
      Country: India
      Nationality: Indian
      Language: Hindi (nothing related to “hindu”, it just happens to be what it is called)
      Capital: New Delhi

      These are the correct terms.

      • bananarama (@bananarama) said on 7th January 2011, 12:52

        About 40% of Indians woud say Hindi is their first language. English is the second official language. Languages such as Bengali, Kashmiri and Punjabi (and many more) are official languages in the states of India aswell.

      • verstappen said on 7th January 2011, 14:46

        Just to be sure: no offence meant.

        If Christijan Albers signed, I would call them Hose Riding Turds, or Holland Rampen Team (Ramp = disaster). And Holland is just part of my country, which is called the Netherlands, but it’s just known that way.

        And yes, it was a lame joke…

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 7th January 2011, 15:08

          Nice ones with Albers, what about Holland Rings Trouble?

          By the way i just had a flash of brilliance, what if Tony Fernandes would rename his team “Golden Tulip” and paint the cars Green with gold.
          The name should be available cheaply, after all the hotel chain went bust a couple of years ago and all of us would know which flower he ment.

  11. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 7th January 2011, 9:38

    So, with Tata sponsorship, does that mean that Hispania’s full name is now (wait for it!) …


    Read into that what you will …

  12. Nixon (@nixon) said on 7th January 2011, 9:58

    Shumacher is the most succesfull driver in history, 3 years out of F1 and he isn’t that good (yet). But Karthikeyan 6 years out of F1 hmmmmm…

  13. Osvaldas31 (@osvaldas31) said on 7th January 2011, 10:05

    Karthikeyan must be bringing with him full bag of money. Didn’t HRT find a younger driver with money? He is quite old and doesn’t have much experience like drivers like Pedro de la Rosa and Nick Heidfeld, which still doesn’t have a seat in F1. Now I lost hope that someday my compatriot Kazim Vasiliauskas will drive in F1, because I don’t think he will ever have so much money like these talentless guys.

  14. Rooney (@rojov123) said on 7th January 2011, 10:16

    A Black Hole would suck less!!!!!!

  15. Since nobody else said it I will. He got this ride based on his NASCAR stuff from 2010. Now no I’m not a NASCAR fan trying to start trouble I’m serious, he won the 2010 NASCAR Truck Series “Most Popular Driver Award” and it was reported that like 98% of the votes for him originated out of India. There is no doubt in my mind that he used that data of that many people from his home country voting for him combined with the fact that there will be a GP there this year to somehow convince a sponsor step-up and buy him an F1 ride for next year.

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 7th January 2011, 10:53

      It really puts a big giant hole in Bernie’s wish that countries were run more like businesses and F1 being run so is a good thing. Because this is exactly business thinking. Take a look at McDonald’s, they’re never going to produce the finest food so they have seasonal gimmicks or meals that have movie themes to entice people to buy their stuff. Same thing here: having a good driver will do sod all for HRT, so they’re getting a cash cow.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 7th January 2011, 15:26

      Actually James Allen has picked up on that as well. He even make a nice cheeky comment about that:

      To the best of my knowledge he’s the first driver ever to go from that series to F1 the following year, although Nelson Piquet Jr made the opposite move recently.

      It seems Narain has been considered in 2010 as well, but decided against it to see weather the team would actually survive:

      “I’ve been in discussion with HRT for a long time. Originally we had discussed the possibility of me driving for them in 2010, but I felt that it was not the opportunity I was looking for at that time, as the team was new in F1, and still an unproven one.”

      • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 8th January 2011, 0:07

        team was new in F1, and still an unproven one.

        …and somehow they’re proven now? The only thing they’ve proven is that they can’t compete.

  16. Don Mateo said on 7th January 2011, 10:42

    I’m less interested in HRT’s new driver signings and more interested in a more pressing question: what exactly are they doing about a car for next year?

  17. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 7th January 2011, 10:56

    This feels very USF1 and I doubt they’ll make it to the end of the season.

  18. alejandro said on 7th January 2011, 11:51

    Perhaps it was his NASCAR truck racing experience that got him the race seat? He’d be at a major advantage compared to other drivers when getting into the HRT, I guess…

    • Alex Bkk (@alex-bkk) said on 7th January 2011, 11:57

      Is that turn right, right, right, right or turn left, left, left, left. I can’t remember. Surely he deserves a seat for remembering all of that.

  19. Alex Bkk (@alex-bkk) said on 7th January 2011, 11:51


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