It has not been a particularly easy ride for Narain Karthikeyan in the Japanese Super Formula this year. In a season where the series itself saw great upheaval with an all-new technical package that made the car the second fastest formula car outside of F1, Karthikeyan’s participation generated a fair amount of interest as the season kicked off.
The hype got a little higher when Karthikeyan managed to nab second place on the grid for the opening race of the season at Suzuka, mixing it with 24 Hours of Le Mans winners and former F1 regulars.
Although ultimately the complex nature of the new Super Formula car along with the odd chaotic race seemed to catch up with Karthikeyan. Achieving the optimum set up on the machine at race tracks he had last raced on 13 years ago was a task that seemed better suited to drivers who had been regularly competing in the series for nearly a decade.
Karthikeyan’s experience of racing at Suzuka – where he competed at in F1 – seemed to aid him at the series finale at the storied racing venue.
The former Jordan and HRT driver scored just his fourth points scoring finish of the year in the second race of the weekend, which was his final race of the 2014 campaign.
Finishing 13th in the points standings out of the 20 driver field will be anything but an ideal outcome for a driver who has admitted that his single seat career will come to an end soon.
However, seeing Vitantonio Liuzzi – a former regular in the F1 points with Force India – languishing in 16th in the standings might be a hint to Karthikeyan that his decidedly patchy year may not have been all his own doing.
India’s first F1 driver will currently be in ‘shut down’ mode for a bit before embarking on his next motorsport adventure. Where it takes him next should be worth finding out, as always.