Karthikeyan: Indian Grand Prix can spark Formula One boom

    Narain Karthikeyan is excited at the prospect of racing in the maiden Indian Grand Prix

    Story highlights

    • Narain Karthikeyan says the Indian Grand Prix is huge for his country
    • Indian Formula One driver says the race can boost the sport's popularity
    • Sunday's Indian Grand Prix is the first to be held in the country
    • Karthikeyan calls it a historic moment for himself and for India
    Narain Karthikeyan says India is brimming with excitement on the eve of the country's first ever Formula One grand prix.
    The Buddh International Circuit, 50km outside the capital New Delhi, is set to welcome the world's fastest drivers at the weekend as it makes its Formula One debut and Karthikeyan thinks the event could spark a huge boom in the sport's popularity.
    As the only native driver in the race, Karthikeyan believes Sunday's Grand Prix is an important landmark both for himself and his country.
    "It is an historic and symbolic moment that an Indian driver is on the grid and, of course, there is a lot following Formula One for a long time," the Hispania Racing Team driver told F1's official website.
    "There will be a lot of fans here. It will be hard to explain but it is what it is. I want to enjoy the weekend, have a lot of fun, and try and do the best I can do.
    "I just want to enjoy the whole atmosphere. My family, everyone is coming. It is a huge day for Indian motorsport."
    Karthikeyan, who became India's first ever F1 driver in 2004, says a solid following has built up for the sport since the races were televised in 1993.
    And he thinks India's maiden grand prix will only increase the country's thirst for motorsport.
    He added: "Once Formula One is here the exposure will create a big opportunity for the young drivers and for the whole motorsport infrastructure to grow. We are all looking forward to it. India is different to China.
    "There has been a lot of interest in Formula One for a long time. It has been that long, since 1993, that it has been on TV live here and I think it is going to be very good for the sport and all the motorsport fraternity here is very, very excited."
    Karthikeyan also said the track at the Buddh International Circuit should make for an exciting race.
    "With the circuit, again like everybody else, it is wide in some places, I am sure lots of different lines you are going to see, lots of overtaking," he said.
    "It is definitely a very challenging circuit, with lots of run off areas and so on, so they have done a very good job, no doubt."