New Delhi: Narain Karthikeyan, India’s first Formula 1 (F1) driver, today signed a sponsorship deal with Hero Motors for the inaugural Indian Grand Prix and hoped with the premier motorsport event making its foray into the country, more corporate houses will come to support the home grown racers.
Pankaj Munjal, the managing director of Hero Motors, world’s largest cycle manufacturers, signed the agreement with the Chennai-based driver in full media glare but the deal so far is restricted to just the Indian GP, slated for 30 October.
“I think, it will happen, slowly. Hopefully, others will follow. After the first Malaysian Grand Prix, four corporates are supporting their F1 team,” Karthikeyan said when asked if there will be a paradigm shift with regard to motorsport in India.
“Like TATA, it could be a long association. There are a lot of aspiring drivers and corporates have a role to play.”
Kathikeyan’s Hispania car will bear a Hero Motors logo during the race.
Munjal said it was time that they support a sportsperson individually and that the “doors were open” for a long-time association with Karthikeyan.
“We are trying to catch him young. We met and shared thoughts. We’ll go step by step. The current association is only for the Indian GP,” Munjal said without revealing the sponsorship figure.