Three weeks is all there is to decide whether Narain Karthikeyan can continue driving and administer motorsport in domestic and international events, after he and his drivers allegedly questioned the decision of stewards in an event here early this month.
FMSCI, national body for the sport and holder of NSA by world body FIA, has objected to Karthikeyan and his two wards Ashwin Sundar and Parthiva Sureshwaren, allegedly making derogatory remarks against steward’s decision at the MRF Challenge championship at suburban Sriperumbudur.
After being served individual show cause notices, the three drivers had submitted their views at a hearing by FMSCI here on February 22.
They had reportedly accused the stewards of slapping a 15 minute penalty on Sureshwaren for not having attended the mandatory “Drivers' briefing” on the day of the event.
Kashru Madan, FMSCI President told PTI that the Federation wanted to maintain transparency and fairness in administering the sport, which is growing by leaps and bounds.
“We in FMSCI always want to be fair and transparent towards the drivers because of whom the sport is thriving, along with sponsors. We always try our best to protect their interests. At the same time, we have to adhere to the statues and the rules and look forward to cooperation of drivers in upholding the prestige of the sport. With this in mind, we have forwarded the relevant papers to FIA for their opinion,” he said.
Karthikeyan, MRF brand ambassador and owner of NK Speed Racing, Sundar, now competing in the German championship, and Dubai based Sureshwaren, a former national champion, are pursuing their careers with Indian licences.
“We expect to receive FIA's advise on the matter in three weeks, on receipt of which FMSCI will take a final decision,” Mr. Madan said.
Asked whether the licences could be withdrawn if FIA decides so, he said, “We do not know. The rules are stringent on such behaviour by drivers. FIA will be advising us. We have discussed the matter with FMSCI Chairman Vijay Mallya before forwarding the papers to the FIA.”
“It is a delicate issue and we have moved the matter to FIA, which has given us the sporting power. We want to be fair to everyone connected with the sport and have therefore referred the matter to FIA. Our decision will be based on FIA recommendations and rules of the Code,” he maintained.
If Karthikeyan and his wards lose their Indian licences, it is not clear whether the former Formula 1 driver would be able to coach and field his team to compete in domestic and international events.
Presently, Karthikeyan owns a racing team supported by Bharat Petroleum. He was also the brain behind Tata Motors decision to hold a championship named “Vista Cup” (Indica cars) before end of the year.