Narain Karthikeyan is back on the Formula One grid. The 33-year-old Coimbatore-born driver, whose passion for the motor racing needs no reiteration, has signed up with the Hispania Racing Team, thanks to the sponsorship offered by the Tata's.

Narain's date with speed on the F-1 circuit came in 2005 for Jordon. Carrying the tag, “fastest Indian in the world,” Narain's expertise and experience behind the wheel has earned the adulation of the spectators not only in India but in several international circuits as well.

He completed the 2010 season as the Most Popular Driver in the NASCAR Super League (Camping World Truck Series) as a member of PSV Eindhoven (The Netherlands). Roped in as the test driver for two seasons for Williams F-1 team in 2006 and 2007, Narain was part of the A-1 GP team India in 2007.

Palpably elated over the return to F-1 for one of the leading teams on the circuit, Narain spoke exclusively to The Hindu on Thursday, detailing his plans and how he is throttling himself to face the challenges when the season gets underway in Bahrain in March.

“I am over the moon,” Narain said at the prospect of driving in the 2011 F-1 season, the year which will also see India hosting the first GP in Delhi.

“There is now lot of interest in India for F-1 racing after the FIA confirmed India as a venue. What more can you expect than driving in front of the crowd on the home track,” Narain added. He also noted that he would be working with Dr. Colin Kolles, the Principal of Hispania Racing.

Apart from looking forward to driving in India, Narain is anxiously waiting for the practice drive on February 1 at Valencia (Spain).

Thanks Tata Group

Meanwhile, Narain had a word of thanks for the Tata Group, whose sponsorship was pivotal in his securing a place behind the Hispania's wheel.

“I am extremely grateful to the Tata Group, without whose unwavering support, this comeback wouldn't have been possible,” said Narain.

“It is a great pleasure for us to have signed Narain Karthikeyan as our race driver for the 2011 Formula One World Championship,” said Dr. Colin Kolles, Team Principal, Hispania Racing.

“I have known Narain for a long time and he can revert to the experiences he gained when he was competing for Jordan Grand Prix and as reserve driver for Williams… I am sure that his experience and speed will be very useful for the team during the season.”

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