When Narain Karthikeyan had made his debut in Formula 1, many of his detractors in India had thought it had little significance to the Indians. After all Formula 1 isnt any Indian sport. There are no circuits in India, even motor racing had not really taken off. It was not until 1989 that India got a fully-fledged racing track near Chennai, a 3.75-km course certified to stage F3 races.
To be honest, Karthikeyan didn’t really set the track on fire in the 2005 season. His best being a 4th place finish in the Indianapolis Grand Prix which had only 6 drivers running after Michelin drivers has decided to opt out of the race. The result of a mediocre season was that Karthikeyan did not feature in any of the teams in the next two seasons but all that may change after his 1st place finish at the Zhuhai International circuit in China.
It couldn’t have come at a better time for Narian and for India. This season in A1 had been a poor one till the scene shifted to China. But what worked for Narain in this race was sheer strategy and team work. Starting from third on the grid, Narian went past the New Zealand driver at the second round of pit-stops. Both New Zealand’s Jonny Reid and the South African Adrian Zaugg had pitstop problems which lost a lot of time. Even Narain gave the credit of the win to the team, “ The team has been working really hard at pit stop practices and they’ve done a really good job this weekend. We had excellent pit stops that really paid off and contributed to our victory. This shows that what really counts is great team work.”
India’s maiden A1 GP victory means a lot to this team. The team that had been written off since the beginning of the season comes back to win an all important GP. Narain’s flawless performance and some great teamwork by the pit crew has brought this glory. The first time ever, we had the Indian National Anthem being played for the winner standing at the podium. A proud moment for all sport lovers. This augurs well, for Indian motor racing. With a proposed circuit coming up in India and Vijay Mallya set to take Formula 1 by storm next season, India has well and truly arrived in this sport. Narain will be looking forward to another stint as a F1 driver next season. For now, its time to enjoy the celebrations because such milestone moments don’t come often in Indian Sports.