The Lost Identity - Narain Karthikeyan
He drives and takes corners at speeds what no other Indian can even imagine. He faces G-forces what only our Air-force Pilots experience and his heart beats at a rate almost thrice the rate of ours. Millions around the globe may recognize him by his name, but have forgotten his true identity.
His drive in the ill-fated team Hispania Racing Team is ruining his career progress and seriously hiding him from showcasing to the world the raw talent and speed he possesses.
The spectators call him slow, his team asks him to get more sponsors to retain his drive, his engineers echo a radio message of system failure every race.
He doesn’t showcase the world his worries, but instead hides those in his smile and pushes even harder to get the best out of his available resources.
A walk through the paddock and you can identify him by his wide grin and rustic Indian looks. Go ahead and have a chat with him and you will be astounded by his graciousness and humility. However fast the sport is, he will always stop by and honor your wishes of taking his signature or a photograph.
The world has forgotten his true identity. All that the audience notices is his broken car stopping in the middle of the race.
How many of the viewers have even looked back at his career highlights? Whatever impression they have of him will change instantaneously. He has proved his skills and talent in every event of the numerous he has participated. Here is the list of championships he has taken part in:
Formula Vauxhall Junior Championship, Formula Ford Zetec series, British Formula Ford Winter Series, British Formula Opel Championship, British Formula Three Championship, Formula Nippon F3000 Championship, Telefónica World Series, Nissan World Series, The 24 Hours of Le Mans, A1 GP, NASCAR and Superleague Formula.
Not just participation, but he has won many of them also. Even more surprising should be the fact that he is an Indian and achieved all of the above. An Indian, unlike European counter parts, faces many hurdles such as infrastructure, sponsors, technology, etc. But he did not let any of those to stop him from achieving his ambition: Drive in Formula One, the pinnacle of motorsport.
In 1996, he became the first Indian and the first Asian to win the Formula Asia International series. He tested a Formula One car for Jaguar Racing team as early as 2001, when he was just 24!!
His formula one drive in 2005 for Jordan team came to end as he could not satisfy their monetary demands. He continued as a test driver for Williams F1 team but it too came to a halt after his main sponsor TATA pulled out.
His efforts bore some fruits, when he returned to Formula One to drive for Hispania Racing Team in 2011. But it has done more harm than any good.
He is easily one of the Worlds Most Underrated drivers.
Politics and money have taken over the sport and have deprived many to survive and excel in the sport. Coming from a country where motorsports is not recognized as a sport, he has risen and successfully achieved his ambition of driving in Formula One. But his raw skill and ability gone unnoticed is very disappointing.
His growth story will distinguish him from rest of the drivers in the global motorsport community.
He is a true representative of India’s young spirit and he has set an example for the entire motorsports fraternity of India to follow.
His true identity is lost and the many may never realize it, but for me and other million Indians, he will continue to be our hero. #trueindian.
For all those who still criticize him, here is all I have to say:
Those who can-do. Those who can’t-criticize