The inaugural Indian Racing League’s i1 Super Series revealed its driver line up in Abu Dhabi a couple of weeks back. I had covered the driver line-up on my blog and you can read the post here ‘i1 Super Series Confirms Their 2012 Driver Line Up In Abu Dhabi’.
The press release carried the following names as drivers for the debut season of the i1 Super Series:
International: Jacques Villeneuve, Giancarlo Fisichella, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Karun Chandhok, Jean Alesi, Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Alex Yoong, Sakon Yamamoto, Mika Salo, Mathias Lauda, Pippa Mann, Cyndie Allemann.
Indians (with international experience): Neel Jani, Armaan Ebrahim, Parthiva Sureswaren, Zaamin Jaffer, Aditya Patel, Akhil Khushlani, Phiroze Billmoria.
Indian drivers: Gaurav Dalal, Ashwin Sundar, Vishnu Prasad, Chirag Malhotra, Abdul Ahmed, Raj Bharath, Ameya Walavalkar, Sahil Shelar, Amritajit Ghosh, Sailesh Bolisetti.
The ‘international’ driver line up is interesting and comprises of a mix of former and current Formula1 drivers (Liuzzi is contracted with HRT; Chandhok is a test driver for Caterham F1). This list includes a former Formula1 World Champion (Villeneuve), two former Ferrari drivers (Alesi and Fisichella) and Villeneuve’s 1997 team-mate, Heinz Harald Frentzen. There are also two female drivers Mann and Allemann included in this driver list.
(Read post: Vitantonio Liuzzi Is Excited About Participating In The i1 Super Series)
The most notable exclusion in the ‘international’ list is of Narain Karthikeyan. Narain, who had indicated that his management was in talks with the series organisers, doesn’t seem too inclined towards the series and had categorically mentioned that his interest would only be ‘financial’. However, I have shared my thoughts on Narain and Karun’s participation in this series and you could read the post here: Should Narain and Karun participate in the i1 Super Series.
The ‘Indians with international experience’ does seem like obvious driver choices and Aditya Patel will be the driver to watch in this group. Neel Jani’s listing in this group does surprise me though and in my opinion, he should be listed in the ‘international’ group.
(Read post: I want Heinz Harald Frentzen as my team partner says Aditya Patel)
In the ‘Indian’ group, there are few surprises for sure. While the selection criterion has not been made public, there are ample of young and deserving drivers participating in the current racing championships who have been given a miss. I have spoken to a few drivers who performed well in the local championships in India and were expecting a drive. However, plenty of these were not even contacted, let alone be contracted. May be Machdar should make public their selection criteria to settle all queries and discontentment on their selection.
The next detail that Machdar should make public is how drivers will be selected to race for each round. Do remember, out of the total of 27 racers, only 18 will go racing at any given time.
For those new to motorsport and the concept of i1 Super Series, do read my introductory piece here – Indian Racing League is launched, welcome the i1 Super Series
You can also get to know more about the series by listening to the i1 Super Series podcast.
Most read i1 Super Series topic on my blog: Should Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok drive in the i1 Super Series