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GP Week : Issue 13
Karun’s explanations which invoke the greatest interest. It seems almost as if he feels a personal responsibility towards the furtherance of the sport in his homeland, as though his success might lead to the establishment of the future of motor racing in India. A trailblazer if you will, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. Karun, however, doesn’t quite see it that way. “To be honest I don’t think so much about what people think in that respect. It’s nice when you go back to India and you hear kids come up and say ‘we saw you racing in GP2, we’d like to do that one day and maybe get to F1,’ but at the end of the day you need to have the motivation from within. I want to be successful in GP2, I want to win races and I want to be in Formula 1.” Whether he sees himself in that light nor not, Karun’s name shines bright in the Asian sporting world. When he scored his first GP2 victory at Spa last season, his success didn’t just make the sports pages saved for cricket, the national past-time. It made the front pages, too. So can we expect to see him in F1 anytime soon? “I don’t know,” he grins. “Everything’s up in the air right now. It’s too early to say. The inevitable Force India question will crop up. But at the moment they’ve got their three drivers. It’s not rocket science to see that having a quick GP2 driver from India in an Indian team is a natural fit from various perspectives, but at the end of the day I don’t want to be in Formula 1 because of my nationality. I want to be in Formula 1 because I deserve to be in Formula 1 and because I have the results in GP2 to back that up. What’s the point in being a pay driver or being there because of your nationality? You’ll be a one year wonder.” Karun has Bernie Ecclestone, Vijay Mallya and some of the sport’s most powerful players in his phonebook. A Red Bull sponsored driver, he’s already had his first F1 test. Whether that test turns into a full time drive will depend greatly on his 2008 season. But to have him in Formula 1, as a driver, a man, and as a figurehead for the sport in one of the largest nations on earth, would be no bad thing. 42