KARTHIKEYAN PREPARES FOR A1GP DEBUT F1 test driver, Narain Karthikeyan, is preparing to make his debut with A1 Team India this weekend, in the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport. Having arrived in New Zealand on Wednesday, the Chennai born racer...
KARTHIKEYAN PREPARES FOR A1GP DEBUT
F1 test driver, Narain Karthikeyan, is preparing to make his debut with A1 Team India this weekend, in the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport. Having arrived in New Zealand on Wednesday, the Chennai born racer wasted no time in checking out the recently modernised Taupo circuit. The 3.5 km long track has undergone a major facelift over the last few months, to bring in up to the standard required by the A1GP series. Temporary grandstand seating for 25,000 spectators has been erected, together with new pit buildings.
Having walked the track just hours after arriving in New Zealand, Karthikeyan commented, "Overtaking is going to be really hard because the track is quite narrow. There are some fast and some slow corners and the tarmac looks new. Basically my aim for tomorrow is to learn how the car behaves. It will be my first time driving this type of car so we will just have to see how it goes."
The A1GP car is quite different to the machine Karthikeyan is used to driving. The A1GP car is heavier and slower than its F1 counterpart, but with less downforce and slick tyres, it also has less grip. This means the car slides around corners just one of the characteristics Karthikeyan will experience in Friday's practice sessions.
Speaking about his first trip to New Zealand and an A1GP event, Karthikeyan said, "It's a very beautiful part of the world, really nice. A1GP is a new challenge, definitely different to what I've been doing recently in terms of the car and the spec, so it will take some time to get use to it. But once I have spent a little time in the car I think we should be alright."
A1 Team India seatholder Yohann Setna is pleased to have his new recruit on board, "Narain took the opportunity to get a look at the circuit as soon as possible yesterday. It looks pretty narrow in places, so I think it could be a fun race! There might not be many opportunities for overtaking, so I think qualifying will be quite important. Basically we will be looking to get points from this weekend. Of course it will be a steep learning curve for everyone, the team and Narain will be working together for the first time, but points are the ultimate goal."
As a new driver in A1GP, Karthikeyan will be eligible to drive the Rookie session on Friday morning, which will be followed by another general practice session. A1 Team India will take part in a final practice session on Saturday morning, before a four segment qualifying session in the afternoon. Qualifying will set the starting positions for Sunday's Sprint race, which will be followed by a longer Feature race on Sunday afternoon.
-credit: team india