Karthikeyan eyeing better show in Super Formula Autopolis round
It can get pretty disappointing when things are not going one's way.
Despite a trying 2017 season, Narain Karthikeyan and his teammate Daisuke Nakajima continue to be focused and want to make the most of the remaining rounds to score points for their team, TCS Nakajima Racing.
Points have eluded Karthikeyan, whereas his teammate had scored two in the first round. Last year, the team had finished fifth in the standings.
However, there is a bit of optimism ahead of the remaining rounds, and more notably in the upcoming round in Autopolis.
"Our aim is to push as hard as possible and emerge as the front-running Honda team," Karthikeyan told Motorsport.com.
"I think we have most things in place now and we should be able to get there in the upcoming rounds.
"The Honda-powered cars are certainly getting faster as the season progresses. My deficit in the last round at Motegi in Q3 was just 0.04s," he added.
Karthikeyan, India's first Formula 1 driver, stressed that qualifying is the most important part of the weekend in Super Formula.
"Qualifying is of utmost importance in determining race results since overtaking is very difficult. This is because of the high downforce nature of the Super Formula machines," he explained.
The Indian went on to explain that Super Formula is a pretty tight and competitive series to race in.
"There are many factors as to why we did not do well," he stated.
"Things change pretty quickly and this is one of the closest championships I have ever raced in in terms of competitiveness.
"A deficit of 0.1s costs 2-5 places on the grid and the entire grid is covered by less than a second," he added.
Qualifying seems to be crucial as it made a lot of difference in the previous round at the Twin Ring Motegi. Though the car was good, there was a bit of trouble. "It was an error on my part in qualifying that cost me severely as we had a pretty good car. Then, I had brake problems in the race," Karthikeyan explained.
But there were a couple of things that made a difference for the team in Motegi. The team got an upgraded Honda package, plus Yokohama introduced new soft tyres.
"The upgraded package made drivability definitely better," he said.
"The tyres helped in strategy, but it definitely spiced up the race for the spectators," he added.
Karthikeyan and the team are not looking at the past now. With three rounds left including the one this weekend, they hope to make the best of it.
With inputs from Rachit Thukral
Gasly hails "amazing" maiden Super Formula win
Autopolis Super Formula: Nojiri beats Kunimoto to pole