Narain Karthikeyan believes the procurement of a new sponsor and the impact of the inaugural Indian Grand Prix later this year will help to revive his F1 career – as he declared that he wants to compete at the highest level for 'as long as possible'.
Karthikeyan was a surprise choice to return to the F1 grid this season with Hispania Racing (HRT) – more than five years on from his last competitive appearance at the highest level – but he was dropped from the Spanish outfit's line-up in favour of highly-rated Red Bull protégé
and Scuderia Toro Rosso reserve driver Daniel Ricciardo ahead of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in July.
The Indian is tipped to rejoin the fray, however, for his home race at the end of October – a prospect that he describes as 'beyond my wildest dreams'. Having struggled for funding during the early stages of his motorsport career, the 34-year-old is hopeful that the arrival of his new sponsor Hero Motors – the country's largest two-wheeler manufacturer – as well as the likelihood of Ricciardo returning to Toro Rosso next year to take up a race seat there, will help to secure his future in F1 beyond his outing around the Buddh International Circuit.
“It's going to be a long-term relationship with Hero Motors,” India's first F1 driver – who is also backed by the powerful Tata Group – is quoted as having said by Reuters
, whilst revealing no specific details about the nature of the tie-up. “The kind of exposure that the Indian Grand Prix brings to the country will benefit me as well to secure the budget [for] next year.
“I want to drive in F1 as long as possible – it is the pinnacle of motorsport, and that's what we are trying to do. How and when, that will come up in due course.”
Karthikeyan may not be the only local hero on the grid for the Indian Grand Prix, dependent upon whether compatriot Karun Chandhok is parachuted back into one of the two Team Lotus cars for the weekend as he was at the Nürburgring just over a month ago.