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Ricciardo to partner Narain

Money goes a long way in F1. The old adage was proved true once again as HRT announced that Red Bull-backed rookie Daniel Ricciardo will partner India's Narain Karthikeyan for next weekend's Indian Grand Prix. Rohit Bhaskar reports. Fasten your seat belt

india Updated: Oct 25, 2011 14:41 IST
Rohit Bhaskar

Money goes a long way in F1. The old adage was proved true once again as HRT announced that Red Bull-backed rookie Daniel Ricciardo will partner India's Narain Karthikeyan for next weekend's Indian Grand Prix.


Italian driver Tonio Luizzi, who has featured in all races this season for HRT, will be the one making way, and it has been learnt isn't pleased with the development.

During his trip to India earlier this month, Ricciardo was downplaying his chances of racing in India and even said he would be the one who would make way for Narain.

However, HRT issued a statement on Saturday in which team principal Colin Kolles confirmed the driver lineup for the race at the Buddh International Circuit. Ricciardo is coming off the best performance of his blooming career, finishing ahead of teammate Liuzzi and Virgin's Jerome d'Ambrosio, during last weekend's Korean Grand Prix.

However, according to sources in the HRT team, it wasn't just the good outing at Yeongam that secured his seat for India.

"Ricciardo is highly-rated at Red Bull, who have invested heavily on the Australian youngster. With the amount of money HRT are getting from Red Bull to give him a race seat, there was a very slim chance that he would sit out," said the source.

Liuzzi was not pleased at being sidelined and expressed his displeasure over the turn of events. "I have asked Tonio Liuzzi to step aside for the Indian GP in order to allow driving programs with Ricciardo and Karthikeyan to be completed. I have to thank Tonio for his professional approach and attitude," said Kolles in a release.

However, it was learnt that the Italian didn't hide his anger after learning about the decision. "Tonio was not at all pleased. He felt if anyone, Ricciardo would have been the one making way as he was the senior driver," added the source.

While the decision proved a tad hard to digest for Liuzzi, the only digestion worries Ricciardo has concerns the spicy Indian food.

"I like Indian food but it's a little bit heavy, perhaps not the best for our diet," said the Australian.

"I will be quite careful leading up to the weekend but maybe on Sunday night I will enjoy a good curry," he added.

Fasten your seat belt