The biggest challenge for everyone will be to handle the first few races of the season
Armaan Ebrahim and Parthiv Sureshwaren will be the rookie drivers in the A1 Team India
NEW DELHI: Narain Karthikeyan sounded confident about building on the gains of the last season with the new car powered by Ferrari engines in the A1 Grand Prix circuit that flags off at Zandvoort in the Netherlands on October 5.
“I expect the new car to be four to six seconds quicker. I hope for a consistent car. The biggest challenge for everyone will be to handle the first few races of the season. After two months break, everyone will catch up,” said Narain, in a press conference announcing the launch of the fourth edition of A1 GP here on Wednesday.
The seasoned driver, who helped Team India win the races at Zhuhai, China and Brands Hatch in Britain last year, said that the team would look forward to winning more races and fare better than last year.
On a high
“We were one of the four teams which won more than one race last year. All of us are on a high. We look forward to being in the top six. If things go well, we can aim for the top,” said the 31-year-old Narain.
Armaan Ebrahim and Parthiv Sureshwaren will be the rookie drivers in the A1 Team India, which will sport a new look with classic Indian blue and Cyan.
“It is a great opportunity. It is a fantastic car. I hope to drive regularly. It is good to be back in A1 GP,” said the 19-year-old Armaan, the youngest in the team.
The second race is scheduled to be in Chengdu, China on November 9 and the action will shift to Sepang, Malaysia, on November 23.
After a break, the season will revive with the race in Taupo, New Zealand on January 25 and reach Jakarta on February 8. Gauteng, South Africa, and Mexico City will host the races on February 22 and March 15 respectively. It is scheduled to be run in Algarve, Portugal and Brands Hatch thereafter.
“We want to focus on better qualification this season. We will try to qualify in the top seven or eight so as to ensure better results,” said the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Team India, Andaleeb Sehgal.
The car with a better colour combination is expected to look good on the television.
The CEO of the Asia Pacific region of the A1 GP, David Clare, said that it was catching up on popularity and spreading around the world. Efforts have been made to make it more attractive and the qualifying event has been reduced to 10 minutes from 15 minutes, so as to ensure constant activity on the track.
A1 GP has tied up with ESPN-Star Sports to telecast all the races live.