02 December, 2020

Speedy Gonsalves

Narain Karthikeyan, gunning for the Formula 1, is the great Indian hope on the race track

Speedy Gonsalves

ON asphalt, encased in exteriors of titanium, ceramic, carbon fibre and kevlar, with eyes peering through helmet slits even as cylinders screech and roar and rubber spins against concrete at 275 kmph, Narain Karthikeyan, 23, is the fastest Indian on wheels. And if he tunes and revs his testosterone levels just right this season, he could be within striking distance of being India's first ever Formula 1 driver. In layman terms, it means he could be in the elite group of 25-odd drivers that include Michael Schumacher, Mika Hakkinen, Damon Hill and Jacques Villenue. Drivers who could, if it so caught their fancy, hire a Learjet for the weekend to fly over Capri and pop some honey-roasted peanuts into their mouths-just to cool off.

Right now, however, Narain's options for cooling off are dictated by the amount of money he'll be needing to survive the 19 races of his F-3 circuit-the stepping stone to F-1 stardom. Says Karthikeyan: "I need £325,000 to be competitive for the entire year"-that's over Rs 2 crore. Till now, India's ace driver has managed to raise £220,000 through...



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