Principal Correspondent

  • Narain hopes to be in F1 for at least five years
  • `Mixing F1 test drives with A1 GP hard'
  • Ecclestone plans to expand the circuit from the current 17 to 20
  • Narain hopes to be in F1 for at least five years
  • `Mixing F1 test drives with A1 GP hard'
  • Ecclestone plans to expand the circuit from the current 17 to 20

    KOCHI: Formula One star Narain Karthikeyan is excited with the recent move to host an F1 race in Delhi in 2009.

    "If it happens, my dream will be to drive in the Indian Grand Prix," said Narain over coffee at the Taj Residency here on Saturday evening.

    "And I feel India will get it because Vijay Mallya has good connections with Bernie (Ecclestone, the F1 boss)."

    The F1 supremo is keen to expand the sport's reach in Asia Abu Dhabi has been given a GP in 2009 while South Korea has been promised one the next year.

    Ecclestone plans to expand the circuit from the current 17 to 20. Vijay Mallya, the Chairman of the Kingfisher Group, is playing a lead role in bringing the event to the country.

    Interesting circuit

    "The circuit is very interesting now, back to front it's a lot more closer than what it was when I was driving. The single-make tyres are a big reason," said the Williams test driver who got his maiden F1 drive with Jordan two years ago.

    "And the circuit is more open now after Schumacher's exit... a lot of young drivers like Lewis Hamilton (who finished third in his debut Grand Prix) are doing well."

    Narain has not given up hopes of returning to the circuit as a driver. "Austria's Alex Wurz is now driving in F1 after six years as a test driver, so there is a chance.

    "I believe in myself, I know I have the speed," said the Coimbatore ace.

    "The important thing is to be in F1. I've just turned 30 and I hope to be in F1 for at least five years."

    Hectic schedule

    Narain has a hectic schedule ahead of him, now that he is mixing his F1 test drives with the A1 Grand Prix races.

    He is just back after the Mexican A1 GP and is now rushing to Sepang for the Malaysia F1 Grand Prix. "It's quite tight, especially since we are crossing different time zones."

    Despite winning Team India's first points by finishing seventh in the A1 GP in New Zealand in January, Narain has not had much success in the new event billed as the World Cup of motor sport.

    Driving style

    "The driving styles are quite different and I've just had three hours of practice on the A1 car, so it's proving to be a bit hard."

    Familiar territory

    But the next two A1 GP races, in Shanghai (China) and Brands Hatch (UK), are on familiar territory.

    "I've driven F1 races in both these circuits, so I'm expecting much better results," said Narain.

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