Tag Archives: HRT

My reply to Firstpost.com article on Narain!

Here’s my answer to the article titled So Narain, why are you in Formula One?

Dear Ashish,

I couldn’t stop myself from replying to this, most of the readers have already made their views felt. I am sorry I dont know how much you know F1 or for that matter, the financials and how it all works.

If you know how Narain performed on the A1 GP or even the F3 alongside Button, you would have stopped yourself from continuing to trash.

Yes the 107% rule did forbid the team from participating, but you have to know the reasons behind this. The teams at the top for want of running a few seconds faster on a lap spend almost 10 x the money this lower rung teams spend. They get the best of the R&D to support them while these lower rung teams help the wannabe drivers to test and help themselves establish.

Unfortunately there are only 24 drivers today and to be a part of that it makes it absolutely a great achievement. Look at the grid before you write, 6 champions and a whole lot of veterans and then you got to look at the teams. By your logic teams like Williams and even Renault would have to hang up their boots and look for alternatives.

Sportsmen go through some ups and downs but just because you have been out of a race you dont need to take a stand like this.

I dont understand your logic with respect to Pedro de La Rosa, why do you think Narain is inferior to Pedro? Narain hasnt had the luxury of even having 2 full season under his belt. You would not have known why he had to drop put last time? or he had a chance to drive a Minardi long time back.

Or take the case of Adrian Sutil, where is he now after so long a stint with the Force India now Sahara Force India, chances are Narain could have done a better job, its all in the long drives that you do.

And for all those asking why Narain couldn’t make it better than his team mate, let me tell you probably he is/was only one of the driver who had to drive, do the sponsorship bit and do everything on his own unlike the counterparts he has had in other countries. And sometimes even have to read such articles.

The paddock knows Narain for his drive albeit a wild driver with instincts that are fully of those a race driver. But see how Jenson Button was an unsung hero for over 150 GP starts and now he is celebrated. I am sure none of the British Journos would have derided Button after say just one full season and a part season after long.

The most laughable part you have mentioned is about the advertisement. Unfortunately drivers of the low rung teams dont have the luxury of pocketing the money. Especially when we should raise 5 crore to a million in Indian Rupees, while its just a million for others in the world and it helps if you are in Europe to do a Euro transaction.

Nobody has ever told him he is Micheal Schumacher that is a ROFL statement you have made to make you unworthy of what you are writing. Comparing Schumi’ years of experience and just a season needs some humorous instinct.

As for the tag line, the fastest Indian in the world, it was given by the British Press and I still think no one has taken it away from him at least as of now. If there are people who shall do it then of course he can claim that title to be his but that doesn’t change the facts.

Wrong comparisons does more damage than really making critical insights, please back up with what you are writing. Its easy to key in because you hold a view but also be sure that if its held to a mirror you should be able to stand to it.

It is also a matter of jumping the gun, especially in F1 the cars are never equal and the treatment too is never equal even within a team. WIth such a background it would have made better if you had called for Narain in Sahara Force India than this since its Kingfisher’s advertising expense which runs the team in a way.

And if you think you can win races with HRT then I can see you comparing Maruti 800 and a Honda Civic. Only parameter Maruti wins is the price.

My last request to FP please refrain from these style of reporting or ideations, it does no one any good.

Airtel Indian Grand Prix made history…











Well, the inaugural Airtel Indian GP was a run away success by any international standards. It has been in the waiting for almost three years and we were still unsure of how it was going to unfold given the niceties that we encounter with a popular government issuing diktats to the organizers everytime something big was going to happen.

Ask Narain Karthikeyan who was all smiles after his completing the full race without any hitch, it was surreal as he had quoted. It was always a ‘will this ever happen in India’ question for people like him. They had their reasons, Narain the pioneer in F1 in India broke many a shackles when he became the first F1 driver in 2005 with Jordan F1. It was a result of his commitment, unwavering confidence that led him to his seat, not to miss the sponsors who saw the potential in his abilities.

Things had changed fast after that, the Indian GP dream was unfolding and it was almost three years of waiting for the calendar to be finalized and what we saw when it was unveiled was really the best of infrastructure and a track the country could be proud of. It was a great moment for us when the country stood for the National Anthem before the race started.

It was also a great moment when we saw Narain Karthikeyan race for HRT though it was one off race. The car had Hero (Hero Motocorp) written on the rear wing, and Narain was the Hero in fact of this show. Karun who was also expected to race had a disappointment at the last moment and it was really tough for the Indian fans to miss another Indian on the grid. F1 has been a business driven sport and it can hand harsh and stricter business decisions like this one.

Micheal Schumacher and Narain won the crowd as one commentator said Vettel too deserved the applause and the standing that Schumacher and Narain rightly deserved.

So the Friday we could see that the place was dusty and the rack was dirty when the first MRF Championship support race started, Hormadz Sorabjee tweeted saying its so dirty and the cars are all over the track.

So this being a new track and like someone in my stand said, this has been a [addy field so you are bound to see lot of dust.

The big moment was the first practice and literally a dog had its day when it forced a red flag. Welcome to Indian GP and the first red flag was due to a stray dog on the track and it took almost five minutes to actually drive it off the track.

As the laughter subsided there were talks about how even Turkey had its dog moment. But in Indian context this was not a big deal if you ask me. Its not uncommon that we find animals in the roads on a lighter note.

The drivers said the same thing, its like very tough and very dirty and you had to take the racing line and you miss it the track will punish you for that. But over all they had praise for the track and new challenge for them and it was a proud moment for the Jaypee Group and thye had definitely put India on the world sporting map. Some lessons for the govt how a private enterprise can pull off such a big event given the much needed logistic support. You will fail if you don’t praise the road leading to the track I am sure the people who drove would have touched easily the max on their car without any problem, this road Yamuna Expressway was a track for the driver in you. The road signs had the people drive in perfectly to the destination.

Ofcourse the final day and the second day the traffic woes did remain a matter of concern since all roads were leading to the track. These are early days and the organisers will ofcourse look into the issues in the long term.

As the Friday practice concluded there was a big sigh of relief for everything went well no hccups no untoward incidents except ofcourse a Marussia Virgin car was involved in a crash when the rear suspension gave way.

The Qualifying was a good one with Red Bull team making it known that they were very much in the business after having collected both the trophies for themselves, the drivers and constructors championship. On the other hand the race for the second place in driver’s championship was going to be really competitive with Webber, Button and Alonso and Hamilton in the fray.

In the end Red Bull making it to the pole was sweetest moment for me as a Red Bull Official Blogger and ofcourse we did see the P1 stance from Sebastian Vettel. It is ofcourse a bit boring since nobody is challenging that anyways, still I did predict this quite long back. It was a matter of fact that the track would easily help the reigning champions.

As we would close the day, the Indian star Narain Karthikeyan would have a bit of disappointment when he was penalized for blocking Schumacher on his flying lap, Narain commented ‘there is just a single racing line, how will we give in?’ it didn’t earn him anything better and the race day he started last.

It was an anticlimax again when he started last from the grid. But on the drivers parade he led form the front and the crowd were all smiles and were cheering him as he strode gallantly in a classic vintage and the other drivers followed suit. It was great to see them in nice vintage cars. The loudest of cheers was reserved for guess who, Micheal Schumacher. I would love to put on record we grew up with F1 knowing his exploits on track and F1 for quite some time was Micheal Schumacher and now turning to be Sebastian Vettel, the common factor that they share being German nationals.

The race was a great starter akin in a dinner course, but it was going to be expected result when Sebastian Vettel went on to make the historic win for the inaugural Indian GP. It’s going to be in the history book of motorsports for ever. That’s what every driver looks to do and Sebastian was perfect that weekend. Narain finished 17th in what he could term as the historic moment for Indian motorsports in front of a home crowd and in front of his family to be precise. All his family had come to watch him race in India a moment we had all been waiting for.

The race winner Sebastian Vettel received the trophy from the Honourable Chief Minister Mayawati.

Absolutely perfect weekend no issues to ponder, on the track and kudos to Team Jaypee led by its CEO Sameer Kaur, and its mentor J P Kaur. The event had sealed its place for the coming years as an exciting destination for F1 circus.

All compliments are also due to the Uttar Pradesh Govt  who joined Jaypee Group in making this a grand success.

Indian F1 Fan

Of Bahrain, Kubica and HRT…

The cancellation of Bahrain as it comes under circumstances beyond control of organizers makes a for a commentary on the political machinations under which sports are run. Given that Bahrain is one of the most waited circuit since its inception in 2004 has always been a wonderful advertising for the sports in this part of the continent.

There was no other alternative than the cancellation at his hour. We were already given the idea with all the reports and tweets emanating from there after the last test. While the teams were returning they were driving past militia and tanks and camouflaged men. Not a sight to behold on whatever the nationality we may belong to.

It is indeed a great loss and this will only make the other circuits in the Asian region work harder to make it up for the loss of an Asian venue if I may say so.

As I write this we have the first GP coming up at Noida near New Delhi and the f1.com site in its calendar has an * attached which says subject to approval. So the other Asian circuits or rather the F1 circus travels to are China, Malaysia, Korea, Singapore and ofcourse Abu Dhabi. So here we have the fate closing in to make 19 races from 20 as scheduled. It could be that the Bahrain can be back which is remote at this point in time or we may have one more race in some place but it has to be really worked out.

As regards testing Jerez or Barcelona will host the next testing. So there is one more testing which will not be on any of the real race circuits. We can see the best on the day at Australian GP in a totally different dimension that would be real surprise for all the teams.

We can also factor in weather this time around like last year which can play and make or break a race for the current champion and the future champion.

Talking of champions this year is getting sexier with so many champions on the grid. Micheal, Alonso, Lewis, Vettel, Button, that’s an impressive list by any standards and this will be really be great action from the word go. The sheer idea of imagining this is a nice experience I bet.

There is only one seat left to be announced that’s from Hispania, the team mate of Narain Karthikeyan, and hopefully the grid will complete the next week.

Robert Kubica needs a special mention an unfortunate accident at an inopportune moment, just the timing of it was harsh and unexpected in a fashion which shook the whole fraternity, I was filled with tears and had only this question why only Kubica, having seen the Canadian crash was too much on him. Pray he gets back and wish to see him behind the wheel at the earliest opportunity. I am more optimist than ever after seeing one of my superb sweet driver Massa get back in the way only F1 drivers could have done or can do. Kubica has given Nick his life line and hopefully he will enjoy every bit of it.

So will catch up as we watch the next best champion raring to go and also some testing in between.

Will write about the testing and the grid in the next post till then sitting happily fingers crossed.

PS: Here in India people wont listen to you other than Cricket till the final on 2nd April so its a kinda real tough to get them listen in 🙂

Narain Karthikeyan back in F1!

The news of Narain Karthikeyan getting back to F1 made up for an almost lost opportunity to have an Indian driver don the tricolors during the inaugural Indian Grand Prix this October. Watching it from close quarters, it was a foregone conclusion that Narain would be the best bet. I would have preferred him drive a Force India F1 any day, but lets get back to reality.

When I met him a couple of months back, the same questions popped up, whats are the plans like, hows he liking the NASCAR drive, et all. As we conversed, we knew this year is will be more emotional than ever, may be far more than the 2005 year start at Melbourne. I still remember he had Michael Schumacher in his mirror. He felt this is also a very important for us in India to showcase what we can achieve, in terms of Infrastructure and as a nation with a sporting culture what we can pull off especially when its the first Indian GP. The dream of having an Indian driver at the Indian GP is now a reality.

It is a long dream come true, that its there finally on the calendar, we were close to a Hyderabad F1 track way back if I should say, but we never know how political equations can hinder or bolster things up. Then waiting for almost last three years on tow and this years officially being up there near New Delhi in Noida.

Its great to see the place coming up at a brisk pace, and will get ready to host the event. The Commonwealth Games last year, sans the corruption story was a great reminder that India can host the best given an opportunity. We can be sure that Indian GP will also be an event which will change the way F1 looks at Indian market for sure.

Now we have three people to cheer, two FF1 cars and one HRT, and if you thought we will be spoilt for choice, its not simply true. Narain will be most watched, riding on a billion dreams next only to the Cricket World Cup aspirations that Indians religiously have and pray for. We will still be looking out for FF1 cars!

Despite of his age, Narain is a fast driver and a quick learner, so the challenges before him in terms of the change in technology and rules should be easy for him. Adaptability is his forte. Doing what he likes is one of his hallmarks and inside the cockpit he forgets the world around him.

It would be unwise to expect any miracle from HRT on day 1, nevertheless, it might be that he should look for opportunities wasted by those ahead of him and for sure, we will be a happy lot. Now waiting for the Bahrain GP to kick start the circus as we all know for this year!

Will be back with more!