Narain Karthikeyan looks likely to become Formula One's first Indian race driver after being offered a deal by Jordan. Karthikeyan has previously tested for Jordan, Jaguar and Minardi. A contract with Jordan has not yet been finalised but an announcement is expected in the near future.

"In principle I have agreed to drive for the Jordan F1 team for the 2005 season," Karthikeyan said at a press conference in Bombay. "We will be signing the agreement in the next couple of days."

28-year-old Narain, from Madras, was the first Indian to win the Formula Asia title in 1996. More recently he has competed in F3 and the Nissan World Series. He was offered a race seat by Minardi in 2003 after testing for the team but couldn't raise the finances.

Jordan being taken over by Midland boosted Karthikeyan's chances, as he previously raced in British F3 with the team's sporting director Trevor Carlin. However, sponsorship commitments must be finalised before the deal is sealed with Jordan.

"Narain has some good sponsors," Carlin told the BBC. "He's pretty quick but a bit wild as well. He'll be quite exciting." Carlin added that there was a strong chance everything would go as planned. "He's (Karthikeyan) still got to find some funds, but it's very close."