Karthikeyan in line for F1 seat
Based on, as yet, unconfirmed reports in Brazil's O Estado de S. Paulo newspaper, 23-year-old Brazilian Luis Razia is expected to fall short in meeting the sponsorship requirements to make his Formula 1 debut with the Marussia F1 team.
According to speculation on the net, this has left the door open for Narain Karthikeyan to fill in the vacancy left in the team after Timo Glock's unexpected exit from the team.
Karthikeyan, who had been linked with a switch to Indycars, is believed to have been in line for further backing from sponsor TATA Motors who had expected him to continue in F1 with HRT prior to the team's sudden closure and sale to an automotive recycling company in Spain.
Doubts about Razia following through with his arrival at Marussia started to circulate after he failed to get behind the wheel of the team's new 2013 car even once during the second of three pre-season tests at Barcelona.
New signing Max Chilton had been doing testing duties for the team and is expected to go solo again for the final test from February 28 to March 3.
Karthikeyan's racing career since his participation in British Formula 3 in 1998 has been supported primarily by TATA and it remains to be seen if the group, which is now under new management following Ratan Tata's retirement, is keen to continue its support to India's first F1 driver.
Should Karthikeyan not get the backing in time, it will be the first time since the Indian Grand Prix being included in the F1 calendar that no Indian driver will be on the grid.
With the exception of Japan-based Formula Nippon, Karthikeyan has won races in every single-seater series he raced in prior to his F1 debut where he has, as of now, had to make do with driving for tail-end teams.
This has included wins in British F3 against a field that included 2009 F1 world champion Jenson Button.
During his five-year absence from F1, from 2006 to 2010, Karthikeyan also won races for Team India in the popular, but now defunct A1 GP series.
Karthikeyan has also been linked to a drive with Force India every now and again but has maintained that talks with the team have never included any serious discussions about a race seat.