Williams test driver, Narain Karthikeyan believes that it is highly unlikely his home country will be able to stage a round of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship in 2009.

India is one of a number of countries looking to secure a slot on the Formula 1 calendar and is up against stiff competition from Russia and even the USA, now that Indianapolis has been dropped from the schedule for 2008.

Back in June, Indian Olympic Association president Suresh Kalmadi claimed Formula 1 ringmaster, Bernie Ecclesone had signed a letter that confirmed India will be the latest nation, following Singapore and Abu Dhabi, to win a place on the F1 calendar with a race around New Delhi pencilled in for 2009.

Karthikeyan has told the Hindustan Times that he doesn't think that will actually happen. Indeed he reckons India may have to wait at least 5 years, possibly even until 2014.

"It's unlikely," he replied in an interview with the online version of the 'paper when asked if he sees Formula 1 happening in India in 2009. "I doubt it.

"See, the racing championships that are being held in India now are very cost effective. But F1 is very expensive. I don't think they will be able to build a track by 2009.

"Maybe five years down the line we can expect F1 in India. That's because India has a market for Formula 1. There is Lenovo, who sponsor Williams, and they have a huge market here. They would like to have a F1 race in India," he added.

Narain also pointed out that at the moment India just doesn't have the necessary racing infrastructure either.

"We are still way behind the Europeans. We don't have enough money. The infrastructure is not up to international standards," he continued. "India has just two racing tracks, whereas even a small country like England has 15..."

 

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