The ‘fastest Indian in the world’ Narain Karthikeyan has been awarded the Padma Shree for his contribution to the world of motorsports. He is the only Indian driver to have raced in Formula 1. He did so in 2005 when he raced for Jordan. Narain has also raced in A1 GP and the Le Mans Series, among other international championships. Here’s what Narain had to say when he learnt about the news -
“I am deeply honoured and humbled by the Government of India in receiving this award. It is truly a great day, not only in my life, but also in the life of Indian Motorsport. I have countless people to thank and credit for this achievement – first and foremost of which is my family, without whose unrelenting support, my career would not have taken the path it has. My sponsors, the Tata Group, Bharat Petroleum, JK Tyres and Amaron, who have supported me for so many years, as well as MRF Tyres, with whom I have recently entered into a partnership, have also been crucial to my success as a racing driver. I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every person at all of these companies who have supported and believed in me for so many years. Last, but not least, I owe a huge debt of thanks to all of my fans, who have cheered me on through all of my successes. I dedicate this award to all of them.”
This is being seen as an important day for Indian Motorsports. According to Zigwheels,
Motorsport has always taken a back seat in the Indian sporting world but the fact that its importance has grown many-fold over the last decade or so is evident from Narain’s award. The Nation has acknowledged his success and with it the upliftment and hope Narain has brought to many youngsters aspiring to make it big in the Motorsports world.
Padma Shree is one of the most prestigious awards given by the Government of India. Till 2009, only 2255 people have been granted this distinct honour. (The Padma Shree in India could be equated to the OBE in the UK)
The Castrol Motorsport Rankings powered by Autosport, the world’s leading publication on motorsport, were recently launched at the Autosport International Exhibition in Birmingham, UK. In these first ever definitive motorsport ranking system, Narain Karthikeyan has been rated as the top Indian racing driver in the world, ranking 126th out of 2,000 drivers in the overall world classifications, a massive 1,353 points, and 75 places ahead of his nearest Indian rival.