F1 demo drive by Narain Karthikeyan is on August 28 on the Kowdiar-Palayam road

Finally! It’s been confirmed. Thriruvananthapuram will be the stage for a Formula One demonstration drive led by none other than India’s ace F1 driver Narain Karthikeyan. The demonstration drive will be on August 28 (first day of Onam), from Kowdiar junction to Palayam. “The ace driver will be in the city on August 9 and 10 to meet with authorities and also to do a walk through the three-km stretch from Kowdiar to Palayam, and back,” says Narain’s friend and city native Jose Pottamkulam, team principal of M&N Racing (which races cars for the MRF Formula 1600 Championship). He is the local coordinator of the event.

This is the first time that such an event is being organised in Kerala and the demo drive is being organised by HRT Formula 1 racing team, for which Narain is one of the principal drivers along with Spaniard Pedro De La Rosa. Says Jose: “Demo drives are a great way of promoting and creating awareness about racing in general and F1 in particular. Narain also wants to promote safe driving and obeying traffic rules.” According to Jose, on August 10, Narain will begin the day with a visit to the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple, following which he will meet up with Tourism Minister A.P. Anilkumar and perhaps Chief Minister, Oommen Chandy, too to exchange a letter of intent. He will then pay a call on Uthradam Tirunal Marthanda Varma, the head of the royal family of erstwhile Travancore who is an auto entusiast, at the Pattom Palace, and then the Kowdiar Palace (it’s from the gates of the Palace that the demo drive will start). The ace driver will then walk the Kowdiar-Palayam road to size up its condition. “F1 cars can go up to a speed of 300 km/hr. Narain wants to personally check everything because safety – for the driver and the viewers – is paramount,” explains Jose. Considering the speed of the F1 car and the distance from Kowdiar to Palayam (work out the math) won’t the demo drive be over in a blink of an eye? “Yes. But the entire event will be at least 25 minutes long. Narain will also be demonstrating some jaw-dropping technical manoeuvres with his car such as the doughnut (spinning the car in the shape of an eight), burning tyres, and power sliding.”