Catching up with Narain Karthikeyan: Q and A Q. What made you decide to race in A1GP? A. I've been in discussion with A1 Team India since early last year, but due to my contractual obligations with Williams F1 (for whom I am a test driver), ...
Catching up with Narain Karthikeyan: Q and A
Q. What made you decide to race in A1GP?
A. I've been in discussion with A1 Team India since early last year, but due to my contractual obligations with Williams F1 (for whom I am a test driver), things just didn't happen earlier in the A1 season. With my racing calendar this season being fairly free, and my inherent need as a racer to race, not just test, I weighed all the options available to me. Of the 3 or 4 options that I had, A1 was certainly the most attractive. It is a genuine World Championship with representation from all over the world, and racing across the globe. The level of competition is great, and with the cars all being equal, I felt that I could compete on a level playing field without any technical disadvantages.
Q. Does it make a difference racing for your country's team?
A. Of course it does. I've always been very proud to be Indian. I've been wearing the national flag colours on my helmet since my racing career started.
Q. After three weekends of A1GP, how do you rate your performance?
A. I think I've shown that when the car is competitive, so am I. I have made a mistake or two, like in Qualifying in Durban, and the team have made a couple of mistakes as well, which has hampered my performance, but overall I think we've made a positive start, and now we're really fired up to rack up some good results before the season is over.
Q. Did you expect the Series to be so competitive? I really wasn't sure what to expect when I first arrived in Taupo. I had watched a few races earlier this season as well as during the first season of A1, so I was aware that the racing would be close and competitive.
A. Can A1 Team India win? With the championship designed the way it is, I think any team can win, given the right ingredients, so of course A1 Team India can win. We are all working flat-out to prove exactly that.
Q. As a driver, what attracts you to A1GP? The fact that the cars are all equal is a great attraction. The series is well organised, well promoted and has great fan following. Like I mentioned before, it is a true World Championship.
A. Have you received a lot of support from your home country since joining A1 Team India? I have received tremendous support, especially from the fans. The specialist media has also been very supportive of my decision to drive in A1GP, as well as most of the mass media.
Q. Is the A1GP car easy to drive? Al No racing car is ever easy to drive. That's the way it should be. Otherwise any Tom, Dick or Harry could become a racing driver. A racing car should always be a challenge to drive, and the A1 car is just that. When I first drove the car in Taupo, I found it quite strenuous on the arms (I think I've been spoiled with power-steering in F1). After that first race, I spent a lot of time in the gym with my trainer working on this specific area, and now I have no problems at all. Q. You've recently been announced as a Speed Car Series driver, is this instead of F1 and A1GP?
A. A drive in the Speedcar Series has been offered to me, but at this point in my career, single-seater racing will always be my number 1 priority.
Q. Will you be racing for A1 Team India in 07/08 season?
A. I am in discussion with A1 Team India as we speak. I am quite keen to do the entire championship next season. Arena Motorsports, who run our car are an excellent team. I really enjoy working with them, and I'm confident that they can give me the right package to compete very strongly next season.
Q. You raced at Shanghai in F1, in 2005. How will this experience help for the next A1GP race?
A. Circuit knowledge is always a help, but the nature of a circuit is very dependent on the kind of car you are racing. So I'm sure the track will seem quite different in the A1 car as it felt in the 2005 Jordan F1 car.
Q. What are your expectations for the Shanghai A1GP race?
A. It's a great track, with some very challenging corners, and a couple of nice overtaking opportunities. I'm really looking forward to the weekend in Shanghai. I hope we can put in a really strong performance there.
-credit: team india