Narain Karthikeyan’s 2014 Super Formula debut with a hit and miss
Narain Karthikeyan qualified in the front row for Round 1 of 2014 Super Formula season at Suzuka Circuit but an on-track incident with race winner Loic Duval hampered his top 5 finish hopes. He began in 5th place after a 3 place grid penalty having impeded another car during free practice.
>“It has been a disappointing end to the weekend after a promising start. We should have started on the front row but were fifth on the grid and then the incident with Duval scrapped any remaining hopes”, remarked a disappointed Narain.
He added, “During the drivers’ briefing, the organisers were clear that a three-place penalty will be awarded in case a driver is found impeding others during qualifying, but in my case it was during the start of the practice session which doesn’t really count towards anything. So the penalty was quite harsh and unfair in my opinion and such miscommunication needs to be avoided in the future.”
“The pace was four seconds or so slower with full tanks [compared to qualifying], so we obviously had to be careful during the earlier stages and track temperatures were considerably lower as well”, explained Narain.
“The car became undriveable after the hit and there was massive oversteer in left handed corners. I thought of continuing but it was just not possible given the circuit has several high-speed left handers”, he elaborated.
His Lenovo Team Impul teammate João Paulo de Oliveira finished 7th.
“We know that we have the pace which is very important, we need to work a bit on the race strategy since it is new for everyone – me and the team, with refuelling and so on. At the next race in Fuji, we need to have a more rounded weekend and take our qualifying advantage into the race and put some solid points on the board to start our season in earnest”, he concluded.