India's flagbearer in Formula One Narain Karthikeyan yesterday clinched the final slot for Formula One's Season 2012 as he signed a new deal with Hispania Racing Team, where he will partner Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa.
Karthikeyan, India's first F1 driver and the only local on the Buddh International Circuit starting grid for the 2011 inaugural Indian GP, featured in only eight races last year. He was replaced mid-way through the season by Daniel Ricciardo, but was put in the driver's seat for October's Indian GP nevertheless, where he finished 17th, one place ahead of Ricciardo.
In fact, it's that home finish that earned him the new stint with HRT, felt Karthikeyan. "I had not driven for a good four months before that (Indian GP), but I came up with a strong finish in the end which showed that I had the speed. There were four or five drivers with budgets trying to get this seat for the 2012 season, but I guess the team felt that my speed was a decisive factor," the 35-year-old told MiD DAY yesterday.
The Chennai speedster is now confident of an even better showing in Greater Noida come October 28. "I drove much lesser last year, whereas I have the opportunity to drive a full season this time and that too in a completely new car -- there are no carry forward parts from the old car in this new one. I'm definitely in for a better showing this season and more importantly at the Indian GP," he signed off.