Liuzzi to stand down for Karthikeyan in India

2011 Indian Grand Prix

Narain Karthikeyan, HRT, Suzuka, 2011

Narain Karthikeyan, HRT, Suzuka, 2011

Vitantonio Liuzzi will not drive in the Indian Grand Prix as Narain Karthikeyan takes his place at HRT.

Karthikeyan will drive in his home Grand Prix alongside Daniel Ricciardo.

Karthikeyan said: “Driving in front of the home crowd cheering on is going to be a surreal experience. A once in a lifetime experience and I feel extremely fortunate.

“There is a huge buzz around the Grand Prix already and I?m sure that it’ll be a resounding success that will motivate more youngsters towards the sport and give us the future F1 drivers. Making it into F1 at the time I did was a seriously uphill task and the thought of being able to compete in the inaugural Indian Grand Prix was non-existent.

“But it is finally here and I?ll be on the grid. It is going to be one of the most challenging circuits on the calendar. There are points at which, if you?re in an F1 car, you will see nothing but the sky.

“The layout itself is going to put tremendous energy through the tyres and the strategy will play a key role in the final result. For sure I?ll race hard and try to get a good result for myself and the team. I would like to express my gratitude towards Tata Group and the rest of sponsors for their continued support and belief throughout my career.”

Team principal Colin Kolles said: “Having Narain Karthikeyan, the first Indian driver in F1 history, and Tata with us makes it feel like a home race. Narain is a talented driver and we are proud to be going down this path with him.

“For this single event, Narain will be driving alongside Daniel Ricciardo. I have asked Tonio Liuzzi to step aside for the Indian Grand Prix in order to allow driving programs with Ricciardo and Karthikeyan to be completed.

“I have to thank Tonio for his professional approach and attitude. After the positive performance the team had in Korea, I hope that we will keep on that line in India. Although Narain has already driven around the track and given us a positive feedback, we really don’t know what to expect but we are looking forward to it.”

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51 comments on Liuzzi to stand down for Karthikeyan in India

  1. Fixy (@fixy) said on 22nd October 2011, 12:43

    Nooooooooooooooooooo! :(
    Although it was predictable.

    • SijS (@sijs) said on 22nd October 2011, 15:31

      Whats the worry? Hes not going to be worse than Liuzzi anyway… For a state obsessed with cricket, credit goes to Narain for introducing India to F1… Thus he deserves to be on the gird for the first Indian GP…

    • UKFan (@) said on 22nd October 2011, 18:40

      I also dont like it but I think that everyone was expecting this and its for a greater good. It would be amazing to see and fairuz fauzy racing in malaysia and a chinese in china but till now only indians are F1 material.

  2. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd October 2011, 12:45

    Interesting. If Karun Chandhok were to replace Jarno Trulli (Tony Fernandes won’t replace Hekki Kovalainen), then there would be no Italian drivers on the grid. When was the last time that happened?

    • James_mc (@james_mc) said on 22nd October 2011, 12:56

      It was discussed a few weeks ago, I don’t think there was any conclusive answer. There were suggestions of 1978. Personally, I’m not sure it has ever happened.

      Crap as Liuzzi and Trulli have been this season, they have shown distinctly more this season than either of their replacements.

    • andae23 (@andae23) said on 23rd October 2011, 13:04

      I think it total rubish that Karun Chandhok will not take Trulli’s place in the Indian GP: it won’t make such a difference if your second driver finishes 14th or 15th. The Indian people would have loved to have seen two Indian drivers battling against each other at their track, but as of Fernandes that won’t happen.

      • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 23rd October 2011, 17:58

        @andae23 Why on Earth would Lotus have to give up Trulli’s seat? Competition is rife throughout the entire length of the season and now is the ideal time to explore new designs for next season.

        Lotus aren’t troubled for cash and if Chandhok was good enough, he would be in a seat already.

  3. QuantumForce said on 22nd October 2011, 12:57

    Sadly, money is a big issue..Nico Hulkenberg is a jewel but had to be dropped by Williams..

    Now Liuzzi has to step aside for Ricciardo..Red Bull must be paying lots to put him there..

    Regarding Lotus, Trulli might be dropped to nurture young blood..Kova is indeed a good driver as well..

  4. Tyson Evans (@bobtehblob) said on 22nd October 2011, 12:58

    YEOOOOOOOOOOOW!!!! Absolutely stoked that Ricciardo is still racing! I still think it’s pointless that Karthikeyan is racing in the first place though. He isn’t exactly showcasing motorsport for India, more so embarrassing them with just how far off the pace he is…

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 22nd October 2011, 15:45

      As an Indian motorsport enthusiast, I would have to agree. Some people might feel proud that we finally have a representative in the highest tier of motorsport, but most people would be ashamed of him finishing consistently last.

      I’m not looking forward to him making a fool of himself again, and this time in front of his home crowd.

      • On the contrary said on 22nd October 2011, 17:16

        TF – you seem to be having personal grudge against the person, who has done what we say in west making lemonade when life throws lemons at you.
        That bloke is proven race winner in every category he has participated and his wins are pure race wins (unlike the skewed reverse grid wins of the other Indian driver who seems to darling of the “paid media” and hence the fans)

        Its easy for arm chair critics to say Narain is making fool of himself, but the fact is he has done the best in the limited opportunities he ever got in F1, instead complaining of never having got access to best car (Jordan car he drove right upto final GP was old spec Jordan car, while his team got only upgrades that ever went on that Old spec car), he did his best to make his country proud in whatever category he drove in.

        People seem to brush under the carpet the very fact that he did put best performance of the 2010 HRT when he drove the car in the only winter testing HRT did after 2010 season. People seem to forget that he was better driver than Liuzzi at Chinese GP 2011, when he was leading the Italian by more than 25 seconds to go, only for team to screw him by leaving him out on dead tyres and thus helping Liuzzi to pass him on fresh tyres.
        We easily forget his masterful drive in rain in Canada ahead of Liuzzi who has more F1 opportunities than Indian ( it was real bad luck that he was given time penalty in that chaotic final corner dash…)
        One seems to easily forget the he bettered Nico Rosberg in the Winter testing outings he had for Williams during his tenure as their test driver.
        He qualified the old spec Jordan just outside the top 10 twice in 2005, something that took two plus years to Force India drivers to do on bigger budgeted and regularly developed car. If those qualifying laps were done by European or British driver with great PR mechanism working for them in the press, those performances would have been well publicized and Internet forums would have flooded with fans crying for better opportunities for the British/European driver.

        I still remember how Adrian Sutil’s wet weather Free practice performances and his Monaco 2007 wet weather drive were publicized in F1 media,
        compare that with no publicity and hype given to Narain Wet weather qualifying lap at the debut race when he put Jordan outside top 10, Jordan was the second slowest car on that grid, not to mention his putting Jordan top of timesheets in Free practice at Suzuka’05 and nobody in F1 media hyped it and made it worthy enough for a long term drive with better F1 team.

        Compare that with oceans of tears F1 fans shed on fluke pole that Hulkenberg had last year by being at the right place at right time with tyre temperatures and just dry enough race line at Brazil last year. Nico was comprehensively whooped by Barrichello for most part of the 2010 season otherwise, everybody conveniently forgot that and keeps harping on the fluke pole lap.

        How many drivers can boast to have won races in each and every outing in Brands Hatch circuit, which is a really challenging circuits.

        Its sad that uninformed fans make views about drivers, teams in F1 without facts and purely based on biases.

        Thankfully every person who has been involved in motorsports for long enough and who has seen the Indian driver right from his formative years has always agreed that given enough mileage in F1 car the Indian would have always been handy F1 driver

        Nobody is claiming that at his age and at the opportunities given to him, he has any chance to really prove anything in F1. But for the sheer dedication and hardwork he has done, we should applaud his spirit for wanting to be on grid of Inaugural grand prix in his home country.
        For crying out loud he will be driving an HRT, its not as if Ferrari is asking Massa/Alonso or McLaren asking Hamilton/Button to step out and make way for the Indian for publicity stunt.

        • Mike (@mike) said on 23rd October 2011, 3:10

          … Are you Narian’s dad or something?

          Its sad that uninformed fans make views about drivers, teams in F1 without facts and purely based on biases.

          Thankfully every person who has ….. his formative years has always agreed that ….. would have always been handy F1 driver

          For someone who is upset at bias you seem to be pretty intent on him being a great driver…

          I’ll try not being biased for a moment.
          Narian, may, if had got a better shot at it, ended up being a class F1 driver. However, current results and statistics do not show that he is of the level required to compete competitively in F1. He has regularly used money to advance his racing career, and his performances have not been enough to secure a full time drive long term.

        • Todfod (@todfod) said on 24th October 2011, 9:09

          I think the China example you gave was false. He tried a different strategy to his teammate, but couldn’t hold him back towards the end because he had used up all his tyres for the weekend.

          I’m just saying that being in front of Liuzzi for one race isn’t anything to be proud of. Getting beaten by his lower rated teammate at Jordan wasn’t too flattering either. He hasn’t accomplished much in other motorsports either, so I dont know what wins you are really talking about. I remember him winning one race in A1, and doing nothing much in every other race series he entered.

          F1 is a home ground for thoroughbred racers, and while he might have been considered worthy to be on the grid in 2005, he clearly isn’t in 2011. Lets face it, if it wasn’t for the TATA money he brought, there was no way he would ever be considered for a drive. I dont know how you would expect Indian fans to be proud of a driver like that representing us at the pinnacle of motorsport.

          • On the contrary said on 24th October 2011, 13:47

            I think the China example you gave was false.

            with 25+ second lead, team robbed him of better finish by not pitting him. Given length of pitlane in China the with average pit-stop of 21 seconds, Narain still would have had 4 seconds in hand and fresher tyres. That didn’t happen, and it still doesn’t change the fact that he had ample lead of team mate and deserved to finish ahead of Liuzzi.

            Getting beaten by his lower rated teammate at Jordan wasn’t too flattering either.

            Narain was comfortably ahead of Tiago Montiero in all sessions right up to Imola’05. that was when Trevor Carlin left the team due to differences with management. Things were not the same with the new team boss for the Indian driver, and it was obvious since the first press statement Colin Kolles gave after taking charge was criticizing Narain and his management.
            While the team was using old spec car, only upgrades that went on car went to the team-mate and only race where the Indian driver got upgrades on his car was the final race of the season.

            I remember him winning one race in A1, and doing nothing much in every other race series he entered.

            I take this as confession of not having complete data. So its not fair on you part to be making statements based on superficial knowledge.
            I wish you had taken time to read Karthikeyan’s wikipedia page

            While Karun, Arman Ibrahim to drove for India in A1GP, only credible results India had were with Narain driving for them.

            Carlin motorsports was a small Jr formulae team. They became front runners through the results Narain and Takuma Sato.

            F1 is a home ground for thoroughbred racers,

            That’s a good marketing on part of those associated with F1. F1 has global reach and thats the only reason, why drivers vie for the chance to be in F1

            he clearly isn’t in 2011. Lets face it, if it wasn’t for the TATA money he brought, there was no way he would ever be considered for a drive. I dont know how you would expect Indian fans to be proud of a driver like that representing us at the pinnacle of motorsport.

            Tata Group has been a loyal supporter of Narain along with Speed fuel, MRF and other mainstream Indian business houses. They have backed the Indian driver right from his formative years. He has been endorsing their products even when he didn’t have F1 seat.
            Indian Media/Marketing is known to be one of most fickle. So if Narain has commanded this much loyal backing, there is something in him that they find worth investing in him. Karun, Erman are much younger drivers, but these business houses have still backed Narain. That is a testimony to the Indian Driver.

            If Indian fans (assuming you are one) feel they are ashamed of Narain and what he has contributed to Indian motor-sports, it doesn’t reflect on Narain, since he has done best of whatever opportunities came to him, but it will reflect on Indian fans and their superficial understanding of motor-sports and its working.

      • George (@george) said on 22nd October 2011, 17:35

        Well when he has the slowest car it’s hardly surprising he keeps finishing last, he’s not as bad as Badoer at least.

        • Arrrang (@arrrang) said on 22nd October 2011, 20:45

          Ehrm, Badoer wasn’t that bad… But it’s true that HRT is a slow GP2 not a F1 car.

        • Fixy (@fixy) said on 22nd October 2011, 21:00

          @george the Luca Badoer that won the 1992 Formula 3000 Championship (now GP2 – won by Lewis Hamilton in 2006), and was in 4th position at the 1999 European GP, until his gearbox failed with 13 laps to go?
          Karthikeyan coincidently took his only 5 points in his F1 career with 4th place at the 2005 United States GP (out of 6 cars, beaten by his team mate Monteiro and ahead of the two Minardis).
          In 1999 4th place gave 3 points, in 2005 it gave 5 points.

          • George (@george) said on 22nd October 2011, 21:59

            I meant in terms of their comebacks, Karthikeyan hasn’t been consistently several seconds off his team-mates pace. What I was trying to get to is that Karthikeyan is coming last in a HRT, Badoer was coming last in a Ferrari.

          • mike-e (@mike-e) said on 24th October 2011, 10:35

            Yeah, but fisichella came last in the same ferrari after finishing second in a force India…… what does that say?

          • mike-e (@mike-e) said on 24th October 2011, 10:40

            Yeah, but fisichella also came last in the same ferrari after finishing second in a force India…. what does that say?

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 23rd October 2011, 19:00

        I think you are right there @todfod, the time to be proud of Karthikeyan getting into F1 was in 2005 when he joined the grid.
        He was better than some others driving for back of the grid teams, but by now he is far over his top and not top notch.

  5. KeeleyObsessed (@keeleyobsessed) said on 22nd October 2011, 15:10

    Not sure what the news is on this to be honest. Liuzzi’s had his time in my opinion, Ricciardo is a young driver who needs all the experience he can get on the most level playing field possible (a new track). HRT made the decision to let a completely uncompetitive driver race because of his nationality, therefore it makes more sense to put Liuzzi out rather than Ricciardo.

  6. Far too cynical for my liking from HRT although understandable esp given their position as the ones with the least money on the grid.

  7. Mathers (@mathers) said on 22nd October 2011, 19:56

    Maybe a better idea for the team would be to take a new talent from India such as Armaan Ebrahim or Zaamin Jaffer.

  8. zopyrion (@) said on 22nd October 2011, 20:26

    totally unrelated …are there any circuits that schumacher hasn’t raced on before ? I mean the calendar keeps growing and schumi keeps adding new venues to his list …

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 22nd October 2011, 21:30

      Yas Marina (or is it Marina Bay?), where he didn’t complete a racing lap last year, when Liuzzi crashed into him.

      Otherwise, I don’t know where he hasn’t raced. I dunno, Long Beach? Zandvoort?

    • Mathers (@mathers) said on 22nd October 2011, 21:44

      I would imagine all the old ones such as Reims and maybe Jarama he won’t have raced on, but I think that he will have raced tracks like Zandvoort in lower formulae in German F3. When he used do race sports cars for Mercedes he probably raced on other circuits than those in Formula 1 as well.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 23rd October 2011, 19:04

      @zopyrion off course he did not race in India before! Apart from that, he’s been to all the current tracks before.

  9. mikeytrousers (@mikeytrousers) said on 23rd October 2011, 1:16

    This would have been decided ages ago. Luizzi is at Australia’s Gold Coast this weekend racing as one of the international drivers in the V8 Supercar Gold Coast 600. He never intended to drive the Indian Grand Prix.

  10. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 23rd October 2011, 2:25

    No surprise there,& probably Karun may go for Trulli.

  11. Oblong_Cheese (@oblong_cheese) said on 23rd October 2011, 5:06

    Liuzzi is currently having a nice holiday co-driving in the V8 Supercars Gold Coast 600, so maybe he doesn’t mind so much.

  12. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 23rd October 2011, 8:04

    Joe Saward meltdown to begin in 3, 2, 1….

  13. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 23rd October 2011, 18:02

    ” There are points at which, if you’re in an F1 car, you will see nothing but the sky.”

    How very poetic!

  14. HRT Fan said on 23rd October 2011, 23:12

    Will Karthikeyan now have to give his car to Liuzzi in P1?. It’s only fair he does after all as Liuzzi has been giving up his car to Karthikeyan in P1 session’s at a number of GP’s recently.

    I bet he or Ricciardo won’t have to give up their cars in P1. Paydriver’s alway’s win out in the end. As the old saying goes “MONEY TALK’S”

  15. It is entirely possible that Karthikeyan would beat Riccardio at this indian gp ..interesting what the conclusion of fans would be if that happens :)

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