With change of heart, Narain says yes to A-1 | india | Hindustan Times
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With change of heart, Narain says yes to A-1

Economics has had its say in Karthikeyan having a change of heart and agreeing to compete in the A-1 GP, writes S Kannan.

india Updated: Jan 16, 2007 21:14 IST
S Kannan

After refusing to be part of the A-1 GP all along, Narain Karthikeyan on Tuesday said he was going to race for India in Taupo, New Zealand, this weekend.

After the high-profile launch of the A-1 GP last season, the Indian team had run into a lot of problems — on and off the track. Word has it that this time, Karthikeyan has been offered good money — close to $50,000 — to race this weekend. So all that talk of being "proud to drive for my country" needs to be taken with a pinch of salt.

Karthikeyan, whose main job is that of being the first test driver for Formula 1 team Williams, is lucky his bosses have allowed him to compete in the A-1 GP. "Frank Williams has kindly agreed for me to race. My Formula 1 testing duties for Williams will always be my number one priority," said Karthikeyan.

To be sure, Karthikeyan's availability for the A-1 GP was possible also because the race dates do not clash with his commitments in Formula One. After a mixed Formula One debut with Jordan in 2005, Karthikeyan had to settle at being the second test driver last year. However, this season, he is Williams' No. 1 test driver.

Economics has had its say in Karthikeyan having a change of heart and agreeing to compete in the A-1 GP. His continuance with Williams this year happened without main sponsors Tata being involved in any way financially.

Racing in an event which is rated much lower than Formula 1 could be hazardous as Karthikeyan has never sat behind the wheels of an A-1 car. "Unlike Formula One, no testing of the car is allowed. I am ready for the challenge," said Karthikeyan, who last competed in a race in China last October.