I hope India hosts F1 race by 2011: Karthikeyan

Ace Indian driver Narain Karthikeyan on Monday hoped India could host a Formula One Grand Prix event by 2011, as scheduled.

updated: January 27, 2009 11:41 IST
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Ace Indian driver Narain Karthikeyan on Monday hoped India could host a Formula One Grand Prix event by 2011, as scheduled.

"It is just possible. Now that Bernie Ecclestone has said it is possible, I just hope it happens," Karthikeyan, who was here to promote safe driving, told reporters.

The first Indian to drive in Formula One, Karthikeyan had last month expressed reservations whether "anyone would invest in the project" during the current economic crisis.

However, Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone, in a recent interview, cleared the air and said he was "fully committed" to the project.

Karthikeyan also felt that recession had taken a toll on the automotive industry and drivers should be ready to take pay cuts.

"When the times are tough, you have to sacrifice certain things," he said.

On the likelihood of standardised engines being introduced in F1, Karthikeyan, who raced for Jordan and tested for Williams in Formula One, said, "If that (standardisation of engines) happens manufacturers would be forced to pull out as F1 is the only place to showcase their wares. But it will also bring everyone on an equal platform."

On his future plans, Karthikeyan, who powered Team India to a seventh-place finish in the Feature Race of the A1 Grand Prix's fourth leg on Sunday, said as of now he remains committed to representing India in the A1GP.

"A1GP has given me an opportunity to drive for Team India and compete with other nations. At the moment, I'm concentrating on it."

On the team's performance, Karthikeyan said, "India's performance wasn't bad considering that we earned four points. We missed the first race but would like to make it up in the future races.

"The next race is in Gauteng (South Africa) which is a good upcoming track. I will also enjoy the crowd support from the Indian community there."

Asked about the performance of the new Ferrari engines introduced in the sport, he said the team was still trying to sort out the issue.

"We missed the testing sessions and are still fine-tuning the skills needed for the vehicle," he said. Karthikeyan rubbished reports that the Indian A1 Grand Prix team was without a sponsor.

Promoting the concept of safe driving, he added, "As a racer I strongly agree with the philosophy that drinking and driving should not be mixed."