Currently, it's just a possibility and an idea but Narain Karthikeyan of India is considering a shift in careers from Formula One to IndyCar according to Marshall Pruett of SpeedTV. The 35 year old currently drives for Spanish-based HRT team on the F1 circuit.
Karthikeyan is contemplating whether to stay and will make that decision at the end of the F1 season. "We still haven't decided yet, but I have several friends who are racing in IndyCar," he said while preparing for this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix. "We have to see when the [F1] season is over."
F1 racing is essentially the top of the ladder in motorsports worldwide but of course not everyone wins. And at HRT, they not only don't win, but most of the time they just try not to be last. For instance, this season the team missed the opening race in Australia due to an embarrassingly slow car. In 13 events this season, Karthikeyan's car has been last or next to last 10 times. HRT is slow and uncompetitive.
At age 28, Karthikeyan had his start in F1 driving for Jordan. The Toyota powered car didn't fare well with his only Top 10, a fourth at, of all places, the 2005 United States Grand Prix in Indianapolis. That same year, he had a test session with Eddie Cheever at Phoenix with a plan to run the Indy 500 but it never panned out.
Move wouldn't be first to U.S.
Karthikeyan will be 36 before next season starts and with no rides with better teams available, the 'World's Fastest Indian' is looking at other options. Also, racing in the United States isn't new to him. Back in 2010, Karthikeyan drove a Camping World Truck for Jeff Wyler of Wyler Racing in nine events - he really drove for Stacy Compton but that gets too murky (go here for info on Turn One Racing, the former Wyler Racing). Karthikeyan's best finish in Trucks was an 11th.
With that background, it would make his transition to the U.S. not as difficult and IndyCar's open wheel format could make his move easier.
Support to stay
He has strong support for staying in F1 and the fact they have an Indian Grand Prix in F1 (October 28), will make any decision to leave for the U.S. even more complex. The international exposure, however muted by poor performances on the track, is likely greater than any exposure generated if Karthikeyan were to shift over to IndyCar.
Is it possible Karthikeyan is just using the thought of moving to IndyCar as part of some bargaining chip for staying with HRT? It's possible, but there are so many drivers who would be willing to take any ride, including a back-marker position, just so they can run F1.
The F1 season ends on Thanksgiving weekend at Interlagos in Brazil. Maybe after the last race, making a move like Karthikeyan is pondering will become more of a reality.
Are there any other drivers from F1 who might like a second chance or change of scenery? Isn't there a guy who is retiring …
Sources - SpeedTV, Racing Reference
Daryle has been involved in motorsports most of his life and has three decades of experience inside racemarketing, plus for several years has blogged about every type of racing.
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