Beyond the grid: Narain Karthikeyan gives us a low-down on what to expect this F1 season
As F1 season’s about to begin, India’s first-ever Grand Prix racer Narain Karthikeyan gives us a low-down on what to expect on the tarmac.
This Coimbatore-born racer has kept himself busy despite exiting the Formula 1 circuit eight years ago. Narain Karthikeyan shifted to sports cars.
During his maiden season in sports car racing, he won the Super GT x DTM Dream Race at Fuji Speedway while driving a Honda NSX-GT Super GT500.
Now, the 42-year-old plans to stay away from the Super GT and focus on developing automotive-related ventures.
Apart from racing, the speedster and his family are also involved in several philanthropic efforts focussed on the girl child.
As the brand ambassador for Usha International, he’s part of Usha’s initiatives like Silai School — a community-based initiative with the aim of empowering rural women and turning them into entrepreneurs.
Narain is something of a budding businessman himself. “I’m currently spending a lot of my time travelling all across the country developing my businesses like DriveX — a digital shared mobility platform,” explains the ex-Williams test driver, who was in Chennai recently.
However, we couldn’t end our short interaction Indian motorsport legend without asking him a few questions about the upcoming season of Formula 1. Here are his expert predictions:
Who are the main contenders for the Driver’s Championship?
It will be a fight between the drivers of the top three teams: Mercedes, RedBull and Ferrari.
Will the team rivalry between Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc get out of hand?
It will all depend on how Ferrari manage the situation. Charles being the young man he is, we could be looking at the new face of Ferrari.
Thoughts on any new faces, who may take the podium any time during the season?
Esteban Ocon and Lando Norris are exciting prospects.
Haas started developing their 2020 car earlier than their rivals. Will they make a return to the top six?
Haas is the youngest team on the grid. They do have the potential, so I don’t see why they can’t do it again.
Your thoughts on Jehan Daruvala, who was recently inducted into the Red Bull Junior programme and hopes to become the third Indian in F1?
Jehan’s had a very impressive career so far in karting and the Junior Formulae. I think with the right guidance, and the right results, he could be in F1 in the not-so-distant future.
— Anoop Menon
(With inputs from Rebecca Vargese)