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. 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.”

  2. 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?

  3. 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.

  4. 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…

  5. dkfone said on 7th January 2011, 12:25

    HIspania are a joke, they have no place in the pinicle of motorsport

  6. David McVey said on 7th January 2011, 12:27

    I liked Narain at Jordan. At least he had some guts and wasn’t afraid to ring the neck of that heap of a car.

    I remember Martin Brundle complementing Narain on his aggression and raw speed but also being critical of his impetuousnous and lack of consistency.

    Perhaps he’ll be more refined now after racing in other types of cars. I say give the guy a chance.

    I’d rather see chandhok back though. He was showing Senna the way until he ran out of money and listening to him on the TV and Radio he is clearly a very pleasant guy with a genuine racing passion and knowledge.

    At the end of the day, if you only get a handful of races in a Jordan or a HRT you’re not getting a fair crack of the whip and to castigate drivers on this basis is just daft.

    • Burnout said on 7th January 2011, 20:32

      It really is a pity we won’t see Chandhok drive in 2011. However if it means he gets a far more competitive drive with Team Lotus in 2012, I’m all for it.

      Assuming we’re all still alive then, of course!

      • varun said on 9th January 2011, 9:36

        we will be alive till the end of the 2012 season.

        don’t forget the magic date dec 21st 2012


  7. sushant008 said on 7th January 2011, 14:40

    He finished ahead of Monterio in that 2005 season,with same no.of retirements as that of his team technicaly he is not bad driver…but let me sat one thing guyz,why not the HRT team should go for a pay driver (or someone bringing some bucks to keep the team running!)…

    i mean,put vettel or alonso in that HRT car,no wonder if it’s capable of just finishing the races,,4-5 laps down!
    then why put a pro in that car?

  8. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 7th January 2011, 14:48

    For sure he racing will boost the ticket sales of the Indian GP this year.

  9. Well, with many drivers who pay for the drive or bring the sponsors you can easily say that at least they have some talent. Perez, Maldonado and Petrov are good, recent examples of those. But I can’t say same about Karthikeyan, who is in my opinion, only selected to drive because of his money.

    • Don Mateo said on 7th January 2011, 15:27

      It makes me wonder how come the likes of Karthikeyan and Yamamoto manage to keep getting the sponsor dollars – despite having had a crack at F1 and proved themselves to be nothing special – and drivers like Hulkenberg who have proven themselves to have more natural talent don’t seem to attract any.

  10. have reported that Senna and Chandhok will not be considered for next year.


  11. Klon (@klon) said on 7th January 2011, 16:47

    I’m getting sick of the complaints about “drivers like him” getting a drive whereas Hülkenberg does not. Hülkenberg did not have a good season at all in 2010 and did not show any kind of talent which would make him an enrichment for the series, and I am saying that as a German, just to remove any thought of bias. Does he truly deserve a seat because he did two, note two, extremely good laps?
    Give me 10 minutes and I am sure I can find two very good laps of Karthikeyan and show that he “deserves” his F1 seat. People these days…

    And this is me saying this, who doubts Narain Karthikeyan will do good at all. But he has sponsorship, Weber is too stupid to get some for Hülkenberg, so he got what was coming to him. Geez, you people…

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 7th January 2011, 17:30

      Does he truly deserve a seat because he did two, note two, extremely good laps?

      Hülkenberg showed his potential on more occasions than just qualifying in Brazil. If you read Williams’ statement from when they dropped him it’s pretty clear they’d rather have kept him.

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 7th January 2011, 18:19

      Hulkenberg, as most people agree had a respectable season alongside the most experienced driver in the sport. He was generally pretty close to Barrichello in terms of pace (especially outside of the first few races) and of course did set pole in Brazil.

      Karthikeyan was soundly whipped by Tiago Montiero and suffered that embarrassing crash in Shanghai. He’s clearly just a pay driver. And not even young like Petrov.

      • Klon (@klon) said on 7th January 2011, 18:45

        Karthikeyan was soundly whipped by Tiago Montiero and suffered that embarrassing crash in Shanghai. He’s clearly just a pay driver. And not even young like Petrov.

        7-12 in qualifying and 6-7 in races where both finished … if that is “soundly whipped”, then Hülkenberg does not look better. Although, on second thought, that comparison is unfair, since Barrichello is quite some leauges above Monteiro, so Hülkenberg did actually look quite well, although I still believe he is rated way too high.

        And it is not like I would hate it if Hülkenberg was to get a seat in F1, but my problem was that some posts were quite aggressive (including my uncivilized response) and so I felt a bit offended, since in my opinion it’s not like it would be a offense to F1 itself that he has another shot like many people try to paint it. Pay drivers always were and presumably always will be a part of motor racing.

        Well, my mistake and I should think twice before posting. I’m sorry.

        • Don Mateo said on 8th January 2011, 15:04

          People keep talking about Hulkenberg because he looks like being the most high-profile casualty this year, and nobody likes to see talented drivers sat on the sidelines while those who are perceived to be less deserving pay their way into the sport. There are probably more drivers who “deserve” an F1 seat than there are available spaces anyway, so pay drivers just make the situation worse.

      • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 8th January 2011, 0:09

        Hulkenberg, as most people agree had a respectable season alongside the most experienced driver in the sport.

        …the most experienced driver in the history of the sport.

  12. Jarv027 said on 7th January 2011, 17:57

    Wonder if pay drivers for one off Grand Prix will become more often. Chandhok for India, Fittipaldi in Brazil, Mansell at Silverstone, Patrese at Monza Andretti for USA.
    Starting to think Ferrari’s third car is a good idea!

  13. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 7th January 2011, 18:34

    HRT are going the right way about ******* F1 fans off. I appreciate this is a financial move for the greater good of the team blah blah blah. But as a fan I want consistency and faces I can relate to. I’m all for new teams but HRT are embarassing themselves.

    • Here, Here!

      If F1 is the pinnacle of Motor Sport, then everything about the drivers should be based on quality, ability, merit…

      If HRT do not have the money, then tough S***. They should not be competing. We lower the standards in the sport, (and as previously stated) where is the incentive for a young kart and GP racer to follow his dreams to become F1 racing driver?

  14. synapseza said on 7th January 2011, 19:00

    “[We get on] OK, but not like we did a month ago. He is just management, so I really don’t have to have a conversation with him.”

    Narain about Kolles back in 2005 :)

    • Burnout said on 7th January 2011, 20:33

      It can’t have been too bad. Kolles did hire him to drive for his Le Mans team in 2009 after all.

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