London: Indian Narain Karthikeyan announced his Formula One comeback on Thursday after signing a deal with the struggling HRT team for a season that will include the first grand prix to be held in India.
“Back in F1 in 2011. Signed a deal to race for HRT. I’ve always maintained that my time in F1 was not over and now making good on that promise,” the former Jordan racer said on his Twitter feed.
Contacted by Reuters, HRT team boss Colin Kolles would not confirm the deal but said a driver announcement was expected on Friday.
Karthikeyan, the first Indian Formula One driver who last competed in 2005 with Kolles as his team boss at Jordan and then became a Williams test driver, thanked India’s Tata Group for their support.
“I’ve worked really hard to come back to F1 and it will be a dream come true to race in front of the home crowd in the Indian GP in October,” he said in another message on the social network.
“Ramping up my fitness regimen big time. I see plenty of hours in the gym in the near future. Looking forward to it though.”
Karthikeyan, who celebrates his 34th birthday on Jan. 17, and Kolles go back all the way to Formula Three and the team principal has always rated him highly, despite some disagreements along the way.
In 2009, the pair joined forces to race in the Le Mans series and 24 Hours sportscar race before Karthikeyan switched to Nascar truck racing.
Spanish-owned HRT, one of three new teams last season, had Indian Karun Chandhok as one of their drivers for part of their debut championship but they parted company after he made 10 starts.
The team, whose debut had looked unlikely last March due to financial problems, have made no secret of needing well-funded drivers to stay on the grid.
They have yet to name any drivers for the season which starts in Bahrain in March, with Brazilian Bruno Senna -- nephew of the late triple champion Ayrton -- deemed unlikely to retain his place.