By Our Correspondent
As the Indian Grand Prix approaches, corporate support is growing to make the event a huge success on October 30.
Hero Motors became the latest to jump on to the bandwagon as they signed a deal with Karthikeyan in New Delhi on Friday. Hero Motors, the No.1 automotive solution providers and chassis makers in India and world's largest cycle manufacturers, have taken the initiative to lend their support to Karthikeyan and his team Hispania Racing for the race.
Managing director of Hero Motors, Pankaj Munjal, said that though the sponsorship is for the Indian GP, the doors are open for a longer partnership with the Chennai-born racer. As per the deal, Karthikeyan's challenger will bear a Hero Motors logo at the race.
Addressing the media, Karthikeyan said that the partnership will help him as well as other aspiring drivers. “With more and more corporate support coming in for the race, it will help young Indian drivers to make a foray into F1. After Hero Motors, hopefully other corporate houses will also follow when they realise F1 is a good alternative to cricket. Thousands of aspiring drivers want to break into the sport but it is extremely difficult to sustain yourself in F1 with the budget constraints, especially being from India where F1 is still in infancy.”
With the race less than two months away, an excited Karthikeyan said his dream was about to turn into reality.
“When I began my racing career, my aim was to race in F1. But never in my wildest dreams did I think I’ll be driving in the inaugural Indian Grand Prix. It is a very special feeling to race in front of the home fans.”
Munjal said that while Hero Motors do not cater to F1 directly but through this new partnership, they look to give their support. And Karthikeyan, who made a comeback into F1 this season after five years, said it is a very good sign. “I always believed in myself and now big corporates are supporting me. It is a good sign for me and for F1 in India. A driver wants to race in the pinnacle of motorsport for as long as possible and I’ll try to do that as well.”
The 34-year-old chose to remain tight-lipped and seemed rather unsure about his future beyond his home race. But he concluded by saying, “I’m both excited and nervous about driving on my home soil. There will be a lot of expectations but I need to stay calm.”