Melbourne: Narain Karthikeyan has very modest ambitions in his return to Formula One after six years in this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix.
Karthikeyan, the first Indian to compete in F1 when he raced for the now defunct Jordan team in 2005, gets another chance on the circuit with the struggling Spanish Hispania team.
But his first challenge will be actually qualifying in Saturday’s one-off session for Sunday’s Melbourne season opener.
“I have been here before and I have some good memories, I like the track and hopefully I can finish the race, first we qualify and then finish the race,” Karthikeyan said at a news conference on Thursday.
“We had some mileage in the old car, but we have to see how the new car goes tomorrow (in practice) as it will be the first time.
“It will be an uphill task but I will go with the flow and see what happens.”
It is an important season for Karthikeyan, 34, who is looking proudly ahead to driving in India’s first-ever GP in New Delhi on 30 October.
“It’s an important year for me because of the Indian Grand Prix and motorsport in India is going to grow a lot and I’m looking forward to it and hopefully we will have a reasonable year,” he said.
Hispania finished 11th out of 12 in their inaugural year in 2010 racing with another Indian, Karun Chandhok, Bruno Senna, Sakon Yamamoto and Christian Klien all employed at various stages of the season.
“It is a great pleasure for us to have signed Narain Karthikeyan as our race driver for the 2011 Formula 1 World Championship,” said team principal Colin Kolles.