Narain Karthikeyan To Drive For WilliamsF1 in 2013

That would be a great headline to kickstart the 2013 Formula1 Season for Indian Formula1 fans! For those who think this is silly, go ahead and read the rest of the post! With the Hamilton to Mercedes, Schumacher to retire rumours, I hope to read news about Karthikeyan and his departure from HRT.

Karthikeyan is probably the most covered driver on my Formula1 blog and quite obviously so. F1 in India has received a boost largely because of his exploits in the sport and of course with the participation of Sahara Force India. Infact, I have written numerous posts about him, the support he enjoys from TATA and his stint as a Formula1 racer with HRT. The relevant post to read would be “Narain, TATA and Formula1”.

During the Singapore GP weekend, TATA increased their investment in Karthikeyan by having TATA Tea enter Formula1 as a sponsor for HRT. You can read more on that story here “TATA increases investment in Karthikeyan, TATA Tea enters Formula1 with HRT”.

However, I have also been vocal about TATA having gotten it all wrong with HRT. Read “Has TATA made the wrong decision with HRT?” Hence, could Karthikeyan take TATA and their bags of money with himself to race for another team? We all know that the bottom and a few mid-grid teams are open to the idea of pay drivers. Marussia, Caterham, Sauber and WilliamsF1 either have one or both drivers as pay drivers to the team. While TATA’s overall commitment to Karthikeyan and his Formula1 drive in 2012 is not known, is the pool enough to help him secure a drive elsewhere? Karthikeyan has been inconsistent this season, but we also know that much of his problems are also with the HRT F112. Can he perform better with a team who delivers a better car to him?

TATA and WilliamsF1 (Courtesy: ImagesF1)

While Karthikeyan debuted with Jordan Grand Prix (now Sahara Force India) back in 2005, he did spend the 2006 and 2007 Formula1 seasons as test driver to the WilliamsF1 team. So would WilliamsF1 be interested in Karthikeyan and the million odd bucks from TATA? They’ve already got two paid drivers, out of which one isn’t the quickest and while the other is quick prefers the barriers more than the chequered flag!

While Karthikeyan has indicated that he would like to keep his HRT drive for next year, I did pop this question to him when I met him during the 2012 Singapore Grand Prix. And well, I am sure you know what his reaction was! No prizes for guessing!

“So in March 2013, Narain did finally confirm his plans for 2013, although not all of it. Read more about it here: ‘Narain Karthikeyan Switches From Formula1 To AutoGP In 2013‘.”

Kunal Shah is an FIA-accredited Formula 1 journalist who has been reporting on Formula 1 for nearly two decades. He worked with the Force India Formula 1 Team for 6 seasons in Marketing, Sponsorship and Commercial roles. As a former single-seater racer, he was responsible for Force India's grassroots talent program, One from a Billion Hunt. Presently, he co-writes a regular Formula 1 column for Firstpost, speaks on Inside Line F1 Podcast & Pits to Podium and produces broadcast/OTT content for NENT Group (Viasport & Viaplay).

21 comments On Narain Karthikeyan To Drive For WilliamsF1 in 2013

  • Thats a great Blog to read … keep them coming .. and fingers crossed for Karthikeyan

  • Unfortunately, no. Highly unlikely. As much as I’d love to see Narain in a better car and as much as I’d like to see him reap some benefit for all the good he’s done for motorsport in this cricket-owned country, I don’t think its possible.
    There are a few good reasons for that:
    1. He’s not so young anymore and teams are looking for younger talent that can also bring in some dough.
    2. He’s in the room with some highly talented drivers who don’t have a seat. Some of them even have reasonable money to bring along, but are still struggling to crack the nut. That makes his chances of getting a better seat even tougher.
    3. There aren’t many seats available to begin with.
    Regarding TATA’s sponsorship involvement in F1,
    as you already pointed out, I don’t see what kind of benefit TATA is enjoying by sposoring the HRT team. They’re hardly ever on camera, dead last and there isn’t much positive that gets said about the team often. None of that is ideal for any sponsor. TATA is already associated with Ferrari and it’d make much more sense to build on that than wasting it on HRT. Now, I’m not suggesting that sponsoring Narain is a waste, but putting money into the HRT team certainly is. I don’t see anything that would suggest that TATA is commited to HRT for a long term and I don’t see any good that could come to TATA from sponsoring HRT in the short term. But, maybe its all because they’re just sponsoring Narain and putting their stickers on the HRT cars & overalls is a part of the deal but if its a separate standalone deal with HRT, its definetely down the drain. It would all just be speculation as we have no information about what kind of a deal it is or how much its worth (apart from sponsoring Narain himself).

  • How about putting ample of question marks in ur title of this article considering der are many within your article ?
    It made me feel very happy initially coz I am a die hard fan of NK but ur article is made up of pure assumptions rather than valid calculations [Though I wud love to see NK in SFI and u can play a role der ;)]
    So it wud be great if u complement dis article wid certain facts….

  • what was his reaction? I think he is certainly atleast as good as Senna and we have to remember that he is driving alongside one of the most experienced on the grid and hasn’t been driving on FP1 for most of this season!

  • @Ritesh : As far as I know the TATAs have hardly invested any money directly into HRT. TATA MOTORS is a growing brand in Spain and hence for people in Spain TATA MOTORS is a very likeable brand. Due to TATA’s association with JLR, some assistance is provided to HRT via JLR
    Also TATA gives it’s facilities of COMPUTATIONAL LABS to HRT and no direct investment.

    • Thanks guys for the comments. This article was for pure fun! Though of course much like Lewis’ move to Mercedes, one never knows what is possible in Formula1.
      As for Narain, he too would love a new team. He smiled off when I popped the question of WilliamsF1 to him! And TATA’s involvement, again, it is one of the lesser known ones. I am sure that there is a sizeable cash component involved, because HRT need the cash more than anything else!

  • it is true , but i didn’t saw any conformation from f1 side and in Williams side

  • Sorry, though he is nice guy, he isn’t talented enough for F1, as people say he is a moving chicane. if TATA wants to support a Indian driver they should consider karun chandhok

    • Thanks Dustin for your comment. I may have been critical about Narain and his latest season in Formula1, however, I must also support his drive by agreeing that he probably has the worst car ever and is easily substituted in the FP sessions by his team when wanted. Having said that, there is no guarantee that Karun is a better bet than Narain. I would love to know on what grounds are you making this assumption. Do share it with me and all other readers if possible.

  • As HRT is put for sale I wish if TATA could buy the team and gave NK and Arman Ebrahim a drive.I’m looking forward for his RoC in Malaysia along with KC.If NK is not in F1 next season hope he will join i1 super series and will see him in an equally competitive car and I guess drivers like Fisichella,Tonio Liuzzi will also participate in it and should be very exciting.Given identical cars will see the real performance of NK which would be better than driving HRT as VJM once said,driving for the sake of driving an F1 car.We NK fans want to see him do more overtaking win races and in podium and not in the last grid and with lap down.

    • Amal, I agree with your view on NK. I too wish to see him in a better car and fight for points and podiums. Sadly, I don’t think it will happen in my lifetime or his!
      As for RoC, I do hope he and KC make the most of the opportunity and showcase their talent against the other Champions.
      And why do you recommend Armaan Ebrahim? Do you think he is ready for an F1 drive?

  • Yes Kunal,I agree with you as Armaan Ebrahim even not tested with an F1 car, but I think he have the potential to become the next fastest Indian given his performances in F2.He need to find young driver test opportunities to start in F1.KC got two opportunities with Caterham(Then Lotus)after his HRT debut but he have made serious driver error and is out of F1 now.In 2005 NK impressed everyone but in 2012 he is out qualified by team mate in quali and had to compromise with his HRT.I think spanish team used to put more updates on PDLR’s
    car and their cars where not equal as it happened to him at his Jordan 2005 mid season.
    One more thing I noted at the time of 2011 season is that Eddie Jordan is not talking to him and vice versa as EJ,DC and Jake Humphrey team of BBC caught him on pit lane after a race.Is there any issues between them from his Jordan era? May be my guess but I felt like that.I haven’t see EJ and NK together anywhere like I used to see EJ with other drivers.

    • What F2 performances are you referring to? Maybe my memory is dwindling because I can’t remember any! I doubt if AE is F1 ready, yet. Though it would be nice to see him get a test for sure.
      As for HRT, I have already written why NK chose HRT and you should read it in my earlier blog posts. There could be a possibility that they updated PDR’s car before NK’s. But this is the norm with most teams in the Paddock.
      And I wouldn’t know if EJ and NK have an issue. I am sure if they do, they will bury it soon!
      Thanks Amal for your views again.

  • HI GUYS,
    REMEMBER 2008

  • Where is karun chandhok?

  • Narain is pretty old for F1. He should have got his break in a better car say – 5 years back. He is a decent driver though!
    I think he lost it.

    • Pavithra, thanks for those comments. You did spend a considerable time on my blog yesterday reading my posts.
      As for NK, yes, he is old and unfortunately (for him and us) his return to the sport came too late in his career. Had he got this break in 2006 itself when he test drove for WilliamsF1, history would remember him differently.

  • I concur that!!
    I only hope, Karun Chandok some how gets his dues(I have no idea how that would happen) sooner than later and not face the same run down the history like not-so-lucky Karthik.

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