After much speculation over the first season-and-a-half of A1 Grand Prix competition, Narain Karthikeyan will finally race for Team India, making his debut at Taupo in New Zealand this weekend.

The WilliamsF1 test driver brings experience missing in previous drivers, having enjoyed a career spanning ten years and including every step on the ladder on his way to Formula One, where he raced in 2005 with Jordan, before signing up as Williams' tester. Although committed to his F1 activities, the Indian admits that he has had a yearning to return to competition, and expressed his gratitude to employer Sir Frank Williams for allowing him to join the A1GP series.

"Sir Frank has kindly agreed for me to race, but my F1 testing duties for Williams will always be my number one priority," he confirmed, "I am very thankful for Sir Frank's support and feel very privileged to be in Formula One but, like all racing drivers, I want to race fast cars. In recent months, I have had several offers to drive in America and Japan, but I chose A1GP because the race schedule does not clash with my F1 commitments.

"I hope that I can help A1 Team India improve its performance in the series, as well as heighten its profile back home. I know that I'm joining the series part way through the second season, and many teams have been working with experienced drivers since the start, but, if I can accelerate the learning curve for the team and we can make progress, possibly scoring some points, I'll be very pleased."

Karthikeyan replaces teenager Armaan Ebrahim in the Team India car and seatholder Yohann J Setna admitted that his greater experience should help push the team forward.

"We're extremely delighted that Narain is joining A1 Team India in New Zealand," Setna said, "Narain will bring invaluable experience to the team and we are confident we can provide him with a competitive package, which we hope will help him secure a Formula One race drive in the future.

"I know that he will be an excellent asset to us and I'm sure he's going to enjoy the unique environment of A1GP. The nation will take great pride in watching Narain driving for his country in New Zealand and I hope it will be the first of many outings for him this season and in the future."

 

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