Armaan Ebrahim will be the new driver for A1 Team India, who launched their team and livery for the fourth season. Narain Karthikeyan remains the lead driver with Ebrahim and Parthiv Sureshwaren filling the slots for rookie drivers. All the 25 teams will be powered this season by a new Ferrari engine as part of a six-year deal between the two brands. "The collaboration will put A1 on the map of motorsports and it will be great experience for the drivers to drive a powerful car," said David Clare, CEO, A1 Asia Pacific.
Other novelties include South Korea and Monaco coming on board and the introduction of three new circuits — Indonesia, China and Portugal. For the record, the Durban race has been shifted to Johannesburg. On the technical front, the sprint race has been extended to 25 minutes with one pit stop. The qualifying though has been reduced to 10 minutes. "With a short qualifying session, more cars will be on the circuit, thus providing more action to viewers," added Clare.
Team India was impressive last season by being one of the four teams to win two races. With the Ferrari engine, the team would look to improve on last year's success. “Last season being our first in A1, we took time to settle down. Our performance on race day was on the mark, but we failed to impress during qualifying. “This year, we will look to perform well in the qualifying to start as high up the grid as possible," said Andaleeb Sehgal, CEO, A1 Team India.
Karthikeyan, who won two races in his debut season of A1, said: “With F1
experience, I am confident I will have an advantage at the beginning of the season. The new engines will make the car quicker by 5-6 seconds. We will be testing on October 1 and the situation will be clear then," he said. "It is a great opportunity for me to drive a world class car. I am young and with this experience, my skills will improve", said Ebrahim. A1 also hinted at hosting a race in the country. "India is a great market and we are in talks for organising a race here. We have shortlisted six-seven venues and will be finalising it very soon", said Clare.