New Delhi: India's first Formula One driver Narain Kathikeyan is making his presence felt in the Super Formula Series and has predicted a bright future for the Japanese Championship.
The premier Japanese single-seater championship will soon become the only automobile racing championship, outside of F1, to enjoy live telecast in the Indian Territory.
"Yes, I surely do see a future. There is a fan base in Japan for this and with the races being shown live on Star Sports it will certainly be a boost for the sport. Of course it's not as big as F1 but it has its space," Karthikeyan told PTI from Japan.
Renewing his association with Team Impul Hoshino Racing, he raced for the team in 2001 under Formula Nippon, Karthikeyan said it's a new and improved outfit.
"Well we have new cars for this year and a new strategy in place. The team owners have been very supportive and encouraging with our strategy," said Karthikeyan.
Talking about his team partner Joao Paulo Lima de Oliveira, who is at present leading the driver rankings, Karthikeyan said that he is sure learning a lot from the Brazilian.
"Oliveira is very experienced and very fast. It's good to have him around. We had a little bit of a problem in the last race with gearbox problems but things will certainly improve," he said.
Karthikeyan, 37, though has not had the best of season so far with only 4.5 points to his credit after four of the seven rounds gone by. But the former Hispania (F1) racer defended his showing in the Toyota R14A.
"It's not only me who is having problems, there are other cars also which have been facing issues. But I hope they will be sorted in the final three rounds," he said.
"Oliveira of course had a fine last round and is driving well and he has really got things sorted out," he added.
Karthikeyan stands 11th in the driver standings but believes it's difficult to devise a plan ahead of a particular round.
"The team has its strategy and plan in place but it is very difficult to devise a line of attack beforehand. You race according to the track and conditions," said Karthikeyan.
Karthikeyan, who has travelled the distance with participation in British Formula Three, World Series by Nissan, NASCAR, A1 Grand Prix and F1 to name a few, is just happy with the Japan association for now and hopes to build on it.
"We still have have four weeks to go so we will try do the best we can. I will at least know all the tracks this year so the next season will be smoother," he said.