There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the new torch bearer deserves this honor. But before we go all out, let’s remember the person who started it all, when the climate was very different.
Back in 2005, Narain Karthikeyan became the first Indian driver to get a seat in F1. And 2005 was a very different time period. Sponsors in India were still weary of the international scene, there was no Force India F1, there was no Indian GP and there certainly was no chartered course for an Indian driver. I do not know of any other drivers from India who decided to pick a driving school like Elf Winfield and then went on to compete in the international scene, even in the junior races.
But braving those odds, Narain managed to secure a ride. Driving for a back marker team, I did not expect too much from him, but he did shine. Call it blind faith, but I did and still do believe that Narain would have done well had he found a stronger team.
In the following days and weeks when the Indian media hails the new blood, celebrate, but spare a moment for the man who made it there, with a much smaller fan base, a much smaller group of sponsors and managed to create history.
As much as I hate Nascar, I know this. If Narain does start racing in that series, I will be there cheering him. The man deserves it and that’s the least I could do as his fan.