Former F1 driver Narain Karthikeyan has talked down recent suggestions that he could rejoin the sport with Force India in 2011, after a recent outing in the Silverstone-based imagesquad’s F1 simulator.

Karthikeyan, 33, was India’s first F1 driver when he made his F1 debut in 2005 with Jordan, lasting a single season before moving on to success in the A1GP series. He now competes in the NASCAR Truck Series.

With the Jordan team having morphed multiple times into the outfit now known as Force India and headed by Indian airline magnate Vijay Mallya, the team is yet to confirm any driver on its 2011 roster, according to the entry list published by the FIA last week.

The team is linked re-signing either or both of its incumbent drivers, Adrian Sutil or Vitantonio Liuzzi, along with its test driver and newly-crowned DTM champion Paul di Resta, as well as rumours suggesting Nico Hülkenberg and Karun Chandhok were also in the frame to join the team in 2011.

It would now seem that Kathikeyan – who comes with some $8 million in sponsorship backing – would now join that increasingly longer list of candidates, particularly given his recent run in the team’s simulator after the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“I did go for a simulator test but that’s all that happened,” he is quoted as saying. “I’m not willing to comment on what happened during and after the tests. I think you should talk to [Vijay] Mallya about the results and my performance.”

Another factor that could prove crucial to Karthikeyan’s career prospects at Force India will be the fact that India will host its first ever Grand Prix late next year.

“I’m looking forward to it. Every driver would like to be in the inaugural race,” he added.

However, Karthikeyan is quite enjoying the American oval racing scene, having recently picked up the fan-voted ‘Most Popular Driver’ award at the end-of-year NASCAR awards.

“I see myself being in this (NASCAR) for some time,” he added. “Getting out of America and then getting back in is not easy.”

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.

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