With only one race-seat remaining on the 2013 Formula 1 grid and the speculation is on who Sahara Force India (SFI) team would pick, the team has taken unusually long time to decide on its second diver, the suspense has continued although first Testing of 2013 at Jerez has been completed. But, A surprise contender has emerged and that’s Narain Karthikeyan (NK)!! don’t know whether to believe it or not.
With rumors linking 36-year-old Narain Karthikeyan for the last race-seat in SFI, the list of contenders has increased to 3, with 30-year-old Adrian Sutil being the top contender and closely followed by 23-year-old Jules Binachi.
It’s difficult to digest that Mallya would favor Narain when he has much capable Sutil and a rookie Binachi, who has Ferrari backing. If Narain is picked, than Mallya has to definitely has to eat his shoes, a few years ago he had said that no Indian driver is good enough for Formula 1.
On PlanetF1 Forum few fans thought NK would get the seat as Mallya has lost a huge amount of money in Kingfisher airlines, but he hasn’t lost anything, all the losses that he has suffered is only book loss and he hasn’t lost a single penny. Last year he sold 42.5% shares in Force India to Subarto Roy of Sahara Parivar for a total of $100 million, he has decided to sell his UB group (Liquor, spirits, etc) to Diageo for around $2 Billion and his holding in the group has comedown to 15% and by these two deals he has pocketed close of $400 million in cash and still remains the chairman of UB Group. Kingfisher Airlines has nose-dived to temporary closure and chances of its revival looks slim. But, Mallya’s group holds 36% shares in it and its net worth is down to negative, but it really doesn’t hurt him as it’s a Limited Company and his loss would be only about $58 million, and his personal assets wouldn’t be targeted. The Banks which had lent loans to him have already pushed these loans as bad-debts and would write-off in coming quarters. Mallya is a smart ass!! he would make sure nothing hurts his personal wealth.
Lets come to the original topic, By picking NK, SFI would definitely would be moving backwards rather than forward. He is 36 years old and hasn’t had a glorious racing stint in other versions when compared to Sutil or Binachi and both of these are younger than NK, at 30 years and 23 years respectively.
But, we don’t know what NK is capable of, since his debut in Formula 1 he hasn’t had a decent car or a team which had a financial backing to develop the car and the team.
This suspense from SFI has only increased the rumor mongers, in future we might hear names of Michael Schumacher, Juan Pablo Montoya, Giancarlo Fisichella, etc, so SFI please decide your line-up or are you really short of money and need a pay driver, please put up an auction and sure ly you would receive more funding than what NK would bring in.