Amidst debate over the ‘elitist’ nature of Formula One, and whether it qualifies to be a sport at all, Indian racing star Narain Karthikeyan on Saturday said that F1 is a sport as good as any other and the drivers involved in it work really hard.
“F1 is a sport as good as others...as much as cricket. In fact, it is a dangerous sport too,” Karthikeyan said during an interactive session at the India Today Youth Summit here.
Karthikeyan, the face of motorsport in India, said professionals involved in motorsport put in as much amount of hard work as any other sportsperson in other discipline.
“There is lot of hard work and commitment put in (by those who opt for it),” he said.
India held its first F1 Grand Prix at Noida in October, which turned out to be a huge success.
However, it was marred by a controversy over a stand—off between the organisers and the Sports Minister Ajay Maken over his refusal to grant tax exemption. And subsequently Maken was not invited for the mega—event.
Asked if the Government should promote the sport or offer any other assistance, Karthikeyan said it was “debatable“.
Painting a positive picture of motorsport’s future in India, Karthikeyan said more corporates are willing to sponsor the sport.
“Lot of corporates have come on board after the Grand Prix, and now talent hunts are being organised (to recognise drivers). Motorsport in the country will grow much more,” the ace driver said.
Interacting with students, Karthikeyan recalled that he had found it difficult to get sponsors in the country during his early days, as well as when he was competing with European drivers later in his career.
In spite all the challenges and hardships, it was the ‘thrill of driving at 300 kph’ which kept him motivated, he added.
Keywords: Narain Karthikeyan