Category Archives: Motorsports

#madeofgreat Narain Karthikeyan and my boss


There comes a time in your life when you would say yes without looking at any rational things like how far will it hold and will this help you in your career, etc. That moment was when I was offered to join Narain Karthikeyan as his Manager way back in 2004.

Those people who noticed the Formula 1 calendar were considered a bit elitist. This was a sport which is one of super human endurance to say the least. I remember the ode by a Hindu columnist when Narain started his first race at Melbourne Australia. You get to see the bit of the eyes thorough the visor, his head nodding through the corners as if he is enjoying a song on the car at speeds that you can only imagine but cant live in reality.

But this is not about the Narain that we know once he started racing in F1 circa 2005. But well it about those traits that made him scale that peak of being the first F1 driver ever from a billion Indians, truly #madeofgreat.

There is a saying that some are born great and some make themselves great, quite a rarity that these two go together. Born in a family of noble men / dewans if you know there are no titles these days, Narain comes from a family which has a legacy of textile mills, an education conglomerate and ofcourse a champion rally driver as dad. As if these were not enough Coimbatore was also the motorsports capital of the country.

The road to the legacy or history was not an easy one. There is a saying that an overnight success is a result of years of hardwork and dedication to the goal that one is attached to.

Coming back to my learnings, there were many aspects but I will restrict it to few awesome qualities that will hold us to greatness.


There is a story in Mahabharatha. The guru Dronacharya is among his pupils, he has set a target for his wards in archery. So he asks everyone to take an aim. One by one the students take aim and when Drona asks them what do they see, he gets different answers, like there is a tree, there is a branch, there is a parrot and it is green in colour and the like. It was the turn of Arjuna, when asked what did he see, he answered ‘Gruruji, the eyes of the parrot.’

That was knowing what you are upto, being precise and I have seen this focus on mission mode in Narain, the lifetime ambition burning bright, to be in Formula 1. I saw it clear and loud, whenever someone asked him what is he upto. Probably no one had an iota of belief that it would be possible at some time in the distant future. He knew he wanted to be there and as specific as to be in the Formula 1 where his role models Ayrton Senna and Micheal Schumacher raced. The best part he was happy to be racing alongside Micheal Schumacher that year when he made the debut. The icing was Schumi was in his rear view mirror when Narain made the best of the rain hit qualifying and well if you know Narain was always a master racer in the rain. No rain could stop Narain!

Self Confidence

Quite often in life, its with the measure of what others say that we decide our lives, not with what we are or what we could be. I learnt this lesson straight from him. Well there is a a borderline difference about self confidence and over confidence though. It more about not letting others let influence you on your path of success. If you were to be led by others in the country then I am sure we would not have had the first F1 driver in India. You know what you are doing and that’s the most important part of your life. Be very clear on that and well you are confidence personified. The best part is that you cannot put on confidence, and that will show badly. So every time when people almost wrote off he would bounce back with a show of best results to be on podium in the racing series he was on. Never allow any one to affect your self confidence. It has to be intact and it has to be boosted with every step that gets you back.

And when you are confident I am sure the world will conspire to get it done and make it happen. It was the confidence in Narain that saw him go through all the years of hardwork from testing with Jaguar, Honda and Minardi and landing up at Midland F1. It was quite a long way literally if you know he tested for Jaguar in 2001 its so long ago in F1 terms.


Excellence is never an accident and it holds true to the way Narain made it happen. You know you need to be the best in the trade you are at. If you yearned to be a racer you got be racing at the pinnacle of motorsport F1. Nothing less would do. And its an art of fine tuning oneself to reach the goal. Its nearly impossible for Bolt to do what he does on the Olympic arena coming out of bed. It was all hard work and sheer tenacity that holds you there. So too was Narain’s path loaded with hard work and keeping him fit and not losing sight of what he wants to do and where he wants to go. One of those things that surely will #makeyougreat.


As you might be aware this sport of F1 is exacting one when it comes to physical fitness. And I have seen him in action when he had his own national racing teams his affinity to physical fitness was there for all to see. You need to be at the gym / workout everyday. You can skip a day or take time off. Your dream or vision needs to be like that. You know if there is a drop the average of your performance take a hit so much so that you need to work twice that effort to make it average your result.

Never let it go, I have never seen him miss his gym session and when people ask me why is he not stopping from racing some series or other, it helps you be in the thick or thin, except the format is different but you need to be fit in the rightest way if I may put it. Keep doing it till we achieve the result, making it worthwhile.


There is a saying that the moment you think you are humble it gone for a six, well the last part going for six is my contribution, its gone thats it. Be humble at all times I don’t have to narrate any incident because he is one, whatever the achievement, it was like that equilibrium of that lotus leaves that waves cannot override.

I know I can write on many of the traits of Narain say charity and the like, but these have had me in good stead and helped me overcome my personal challenges quite often. That everlasting impact is what I have been able to pass it on to those who I have come in contact, so the life becomes better for the future.

It been a nice way of looking back and thanks so much to this hashtag #madeofgreat. Do check out more here

I leave you with this video too!


PS: its no sheer coincidence that TATA Motors was his principal sponsor that day when he made over 1.2 billion Indians proud, probably only TATA Motors could identify someone #madeofgreat.

Narain Karthikeyan makes history #6thMar2005

Its almost 10 years now since Narain Karthikeyan scorched the tracks at Australian GP in 2005. The season opener had good news for the Indian since Schumi acknowledged him during the Press Conference on Thursday.

I know Narain would have been on cloud nine, why not that was his idol Schumi talking about him. He has always said this about Schumi – He is like red wine and the more the years, the more better he gets. We do hope Schumi gets back to normalcy at this juncture and yes we do know his son Mika is getting into his boots.



That pic is a memorable one for the reason that an Indian was taking part in the parade for the first time. Back home it did create a lot of expectation for him to win the races. Well it was a well intentioned thought, though from people who didn’t know Narain did all he could with the machine at his disposal.

There was a placard held by a girl in the stands which read “Marry Me Narain”

The qualifying was a classic affair giving Narain the rain master as he is nick named a chance to prove his mettle. He went on to start the grid on 12! A great way to start off the season.

There was a big headline I remember which said, Narain will carry on the big hopes of a billion people, it was true and it indeed was a moment to cherish.

Formula One World Championship

Narain finished a creditable 15th on the grid on the race day 10 years ago at Australia.

That was a start of a roller coaster ride for an Indian in F1. Will get you more on this series.

Before I sign off this one, I should mention the critical part played by the sponsors and especially Mr. Ratan Tata who endorsed Narain’s talent to be a part of this big league. Thanks to TATA Motors, Bharat Petroleum Speed, JK Tyres, and Amaron Batteries.

This is the 2nd part of the series #MyF1years getting you some inside moments during the year.

Senthilkumar aka – Indian F1 fan

My F1 years! #NarainKarthikeyan #F1

Narain Karthikeyan (IND) Jordan has his seat fitting. Jordan Seat Fitting, Jordan HQ, Silverstone, England, 3 February 2005. DIGITAL IMAGE

Narain Karthikeyan (IND) Jordan has his seat fitting.
Jordan Seat Fitting, Jordan HQ, Silverstone, England, 3 February 2005.

Formula One World Championship

Narain with team mate Tiago Monteiro and Trevor Carlin

Dear Friends,

I will be writing about the first F1 years with respect to Narain Karthikeyan. Come Jan 31st it would be 10 years since that announcement that Narain Karthikeyan went on to make history as the First F1 driver from India. In his own words, ‘there are fewer F1 drivers than astronauts on earth’ that was an achievement only he could have earned and deservedly so.

As it was about to sink in, and the pulse racing on how it would all go that year saw a great revival in Indian’s fortunes and some near misses. The Australian GP was one of its kind. I can easily recall that qualifying under the rains and Narain was in his elements and lo the he had Schumi the God on the track in his rear view mirror when he started that first race of the reason.

It was a drive for Narain and an aspiration for a billion people lived that moment when he raced past the chequered flag completing the race. Bringing home the car mattered the most. In a nation that took time to understand the sport and with people looking to Narain to win a race, it was all like they say in a race – eventful year for Narain and Indian motorsports.

It was during the Thursday’s press conference Narain was acknowledged by the Master Schumacher saying ‘I saw him drive’. With a billion aspiration on his shoulder Narain set out to race in one of his life’s unforgettable moments. His close knit family travelled to see the event unfold, the Australian fans waving the Indian flags and it was a sight to watch when he was aboard the car during the parade moments preceding the race on Sunday.

I still remember a poster which said ‘Narain Marry Me!’ from one of the fangirl.

On March 18, 2005, the yellow coloured Jordan No.19 was cynosure of all eyes in India glued to the TV screens and that signature Chakra & tricolour helmet was all we could see in action as he set out to drive the race of his life time. Its no mean achievement to be the first Indian F1 driver. History was made! He finished 15th!

We shall relive all these moments in the series starting now. And you cant forget TATA, Speed by Bharat Petroleum, JK Tyres, Amaron and Raymonds and JCB later joined the party!

Senthilkumar Rajappan

Pics Courtesy: Jordan F1 2005

Narain Karthikeyan – My Role Model


Narain Karthikeyan

Narain Karthikeyan

One of the most interesting part of my career and one of the best jobs ever was being manager to ‘the fastest Indian in the world’ Narain Karthikeyan’s manager. Though it was just a manager’s  role , it led me to a world of opportunities to explore and work through.

The fascinating aspect of this role is what presented an opportunity to watch this one of India’s sporting sensations and only one of the kind of human being at a very close range, reporting to him.

One of the character traits of Narain Karthikeyan is perseverance and never let go attitude. It has been an asset in his nature to be the persevering self right through his career. If anyone else was in his place I am sure there would not have been the first Indian in F1 till date.

I have watched the positivity and the never let go trait working in his favour by sheer instinct if you call it. Possibilities when you are made of such stuff, the heavens do conspire to make it happen.

To give you a classic example, we did a shoot for Vijay TV – the Star TV Tamil channel a two week episode, and Narain almost said as many times he looks forward to be the first Indian in Formula 1 history. This was just 3 months prior to the announcement.

When the news unravelled I sat reliving all those moments when he was so positive, a classic example I saw of positive thinking, given that no one has ever completed a season with any team except Narain Karthikeyan.

He will remain my role model for his perserverance, positivity and never say never attitude till the goal was reached.

I am sure one day I would be able to recall all those moments in a memoir :) aptly titled ‘My F1 years!’

I am writing about #MyRoleModel as a part of the activity by Gillette India in association with


Cracker of a race in Bahrain – Hamilton finishes on top with Rosberg behind…

What a team win that was!

That was a race that would be remembered for a long time to come. The V6 era has come to stay and the change in attitude of the teams led to what was a redefinition of the wheel to wheel racing at the first night race ever at Bahrain International Circuit. In an incident filled race, where quite a few teams even traded the fastest laps, Lewis finished P1 and Rosberg finished P2.

The qualifying was an anti climax with Lewis not making it on top though it was a 1-2 Mercedes front grid. He made it up in the first corner going ahead of his team mate and maintained the lead till the chequered flag. Not before we were witness to some of the best wheel to wheel racing moments. There were no team orders and it was fun for the fans, ofcourse they had to intervene to just say ‘Bring home both the cars.’ I think that resonated well with all the teams, the Sahara Force India, the Williams and the Redbulls.

The sun had set and it was an evening of sheer magic for the fans watching the show on television. The way the front lead cars battled out for the prized top spot on the podium was an exhilarating experience that was special in a way the team mates took out on each other at every given opportunity and made come backs too. The camaraderie of the sport was in full glare when Lewis and Rosberg were all smiles and Rosberg acknowledged his teammate’s performance, though he did warn Lewis on a tweet that he is going to be back to see how he can be at No.1.

The other team which delighted us to the core was the Sahara Force India, coming in at P3 and P5 and it was a terrific drive by Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg. The pit stops were clean and then the drive super smooth. Wheel to wheel, overtaking and everything you wanted happening around the racetrack.

The RedBull also had a great race considering that the cars started at 10th and 13th and finally finishing at P4 and P6 with Riccardio and Vettel. There were moments when they were struggling a lot and they managed to overtake and get themselves to the best results they could achieve.

Williams also added to the fury of the speed when at the start Massa went off  a dream start and I thought they had some problems and settled for the best places Massa at P7 & Bottas P8. There were spurts of excellent driving in the race by these two men.  The last 2 in the top 10 were taken by Ferrari Alonso and Kimi in that order.

There was a Safety car moment when Maldonado went straight into the Guiterrez and flipping his car over track. Luckily he was unhurt, which actually wiped off the advantage the race leader Hamilton had built up.

But the Mercedes were at their best check the lead of over 24 seconds that splits the top 2 and the rest of the teams. Now this race is gonna be remembered for long for quite some time!

Well, you now know what happens if the teams can just shut and let the drivers race!

Indian F1 fan

Race Results

1. Lewis Hamilton Britain Mercedes-Mercedes 57 laps 1hr 39m 42.743s
2. Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes-Mercedes +00m 01.0s
3. Sergio Perez Mexico Force India-Mercedes +00m 24.0s
4. Daniel Ricciardo Australia Red Bull-Renault +00m 24.4s
5. Nico Hulkenberg Germany Force India-Mercedes +00m 28.6s
6. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault +00m 29.8s
7. Felipe Massa Brazil Williams-Mercedes +00m 31.3s
8. Valtteri Bottas Finland Williams-Mercedes +00m 31.8s
9. Fernando Alonso Spain Ferrari-Ferrari +00m 32.5s
10. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Ferrari-Ferrari +00m 33.4s

11. Daniil Kvyat Russia Toro Rosso-Renault +00m 41.3s
12. Romain Grosjean France Lotus-Renault +00m 43.1s
13. Max Chilton Briton Marussia-Ferrari +00m 59.9s
14. Pastor Maldonado Venezuela Lotus-Renault +01m 02.8s
15. Kamui Kobayashi Japan Caterham-Renault +01m 18.3s
Rtd Jenson Button Britain McLaren-Mercedes +2 laps
16. Jules Bianchi France Marussia-Ferrari +3 laps

Rtd Kevin Magnussen Denmark McLaren-Mercedes 40 laps completed
Rtd Esteban Gutierrez Mexico Sauber-Ferrari 39 laps completed
Rtd Marcus Ericsson Sweden Caterham-Renault 33 laps completed
Rtd Jean-Eric Vergne France Toro Rosso-Renault 18 laps completed
Rtd Adrian Sutil Germany Sauber-Ferrari 17 laps completed

Schumi! You can do it!



I didnt think when I resolved that I will blog more on F1, I would have to have a different Schumi story to start with. The news from the Alps from France was like a thunderbolt, which has muted so much of enthusiasm for the fans aross the world.

Micheal Schumacher, the 7 time world Champion is in coma after a skiing incident. The irony of the accident is we have seen Schumi drives at speeds over 300 kmph and the safety of the F1 car giving its drivers the best on what it can offer today. This incident probably brings back a lot of memories of the past era espeically the accident of Senna which happened during a race. It took a long time for those fans to recover.

Accidents like these have demonstrated the will power of extraordinary sports persons to fight against all odds. The latest news coming from the hospital bulletin and social media updates do give the feeling that Schumi is not the one to give up.

I always have Robert Kubica in mind and the eternal fighting spirit that he personified since his accident and getting back to drive in world rally a few years later. I have always believed the sports person have this innate ability to come back, mentally stronger and physically robust after every fall.

The outpouring of grief and the prayers are testimony to the way the man and way he handled the mean machines – the way Schumi has impacted a generation of motorsports fans across the globe. I am sure these are extraordinary times for the immediate family and the friends.

Yeah Schumi, you will win, and you are fighter and only known to cross the line with finesse and great elan. While we await your recovery here’s praying that you get back and see the flood of emotions that the world had for you.

I know Schumi, you can do it and you will, for the world is just waiting to see you back.

Your fan always!

Amaze-ing Honda Hangout! #amazesmeontheroad

It was a nice setting, a Saturday morning in Bengaluru’s weather and driving the pot filled roads. I reach Taj Vivanta not before being introduced midway to Karthik, a privateer rally driver. Very interesting exchanges on motorsports and entrepreneurship follows.

At the venue of Honda Hangout, get to meet those bloggers at arms and the Bloggers Mind team! And we settle after a nice breakfast! I could see cars lined up for the day.

The official itinerary had the normal stuff and we were led through a very long and interesting presentation on the Honda Amaze and how it came to be the car that it is today.

Also got to see a couple of nice Honda television commercials: Check this one!

The Honda Amaze is a greatly conceived car and has the Honda DNA and the Diesel version has the power and sensitivity to a great extent. This is a culmination of studies and insights from ground zero. In one of the answers the team said they had studied some 20 different road bumps to get to the right ride height. The space in the back seats also marks the importance of leg room and they have optimised the boot.

So we were all set, in groups of three people and a member Bloggers Mind. It happened that I was a part of the first car!

All set the first impressions were obvious ones, a grand looking car, nice front grill with trademark Honda Logo the lights were also clear and flowing with the lines, then there was the fog lamps.Oh these cars comes in beautiful colours too!


The back of the car was also very well styled. Looks pretty with the lights on! The chrome band adds to the look.


Look inside is a nice console, would have loved the music system and the AC panel flowing down rather than being two different sets. You will find three colours on the panel , its pretty sleek to an extent, and the plastic look actually makes it little cheap.

Otherwise the dual tone interiors are a delight to soak in. One serious stuff they missed is the BLUE TOOTH! Yes it doesn’t have blue tooth connectivity.

The steering is collapsible ie tiltable, has Airbags, has music controls at your fingertips, so you dont strech yourself in the city riding. On the other hand the seat has a height adjuster, so you know if you are not able to reach the clutch, you know what to do!

The wind shield is a special one with heat control, another amaze-ing feature if you can call it.

I must admit that noise control is par excellence, you would wonder if the car is on, well checked with revs to confirm it.

The ORVMs can be handled from inside and it also has a sporty feel to it with the indicator lights on.


So we were all set to drive and test it to the limits, yeah we mean that! :)


Before that let me add the cup holders were a delight it actually was able to hold real 2 bottles. The back seat also had bottle holders very amply spaced out.

A tidbit here: The product team actually collected over 200 bottles from the people at office to finalise the size of the holder.

So we hit the road!

The car was responding so well to the city roads!

Very comfortable in 2nd and 3rd gears too, pretty responsive steering and very close turning radius helps you navigate the city, the traffic the signals and the pot holes in abundance.

The verdict is out half way – very nice city car!


So we would be touching the high way to actually try going that extra distance and feel the car.

And here we tested it to limits, just look at the snap below! Its a manual setting in the camera, and i was able to take this shot on the highway, it felt like breeze no hangups and no pretence of being fast!


Pretty nice build I must say! But when I drove I was wondering if we needed an extra bit of power, may be its the light weight on the aluminium engine that makes you feel so! So far its been a great ride and Honda Amazes truly!



The engine is pretty powerful and makes for a great drive in city and also on the highway! A 1.5 L iDTEC gives a 100 ps power! Very peppy and responsive as already discussed.


The boot space is optimum, and you have a nice package from Honda! Altogether a great packaging for the Indian consumers and Amaze does the most important thing in fuel efficiency, we did clock over 18 Kmpl on the go and we had really taken it for a ride literally, while another team did make it at 22.4 kmpl! Thats the one big news you were waiting for. So you have a cool sedan and a nice mileage, did someone ask kitna deti hai? ;)

A very nice package value for money and you will love the Honda tag! Going by the waiting period you know they have done the rightest thing, and they are working overtime to reduce that to a half the time with a third shift at their facility.

A nice Honda Hangout with even the team coming from Product management and the marketing made it awesome, simple because they were all ears to the feedback, and that I would say would make all the difference.

Some offbeat shots below!




Thanks to Bloggers Mind for this wonderful opportunity! Had a great time and will cherish this experience forever. It was different social media experiment taking it offline :) and discussing things online!

Senthilkumar Rajappan

The Ambassador and the car #replug

Ambassador from HM

My take on Ambassador was revived once I read this article from Firstpost, and here we go with down memory lane! The following is a blogpost I did in 2005!

While I was driving down the office these cars today caught my attention at the traffic signals. Well I am talking about the white Amby with a siren decorated atop and a sunshade to complement. And the usual red board with golden letters whatever…Commissioner, Judge, Mayor….. So today two such cars caught my imagination.

Here are some facts, Since its inception these cars have been used as the official cars except under very strange circumstances. There are a real show of power especially white ambassador cars and has been in use even now as a the car of the politically powerful. Every farmer makes Ambassador their first car.

With so much to styling and the aerodynamics in car design, Amby has always stood its mite being the same car for almost over thirty years. No major design changes have happened in the car and it keeps going strong. Of course you should not take it face to face with todays cars in terms of sales but I believe it had had its enduring value as a car and more to do with politics. It will be sometime before these cars can be replaced. Just imagine if Laloo Prasad Yadav or anybody comes in a Merc, it will be a real contradiction.

As for safety, this car is the favorite, they even had a campaign running how reliable these cars are since the army is using them out there in the borders and other terrains.

Probably ask Mr. Chandrababu Naidu, he would vouch for the safety of the Amby. Analyst say no other car would have made it through if not for Amby during a grenade attack on the Ex-CM.

Ask some of the best people in tinsel town. they use an Amby, The southern superstars, Rajinikanth and Mamootty still own an Amby and Rajinikath is supposed to be really driving it around.

And abroad there is a Car Rental company in UK which runs only Amby and you wont get it cheap, you got to pay more to go in these cars. Japan also imported these cars for their sturdy ‘design’.

And come to choosing colors, I am reminded of Ford who said ‘any color is fine with me as long as they are black’, but then as for Amby any color is fine as long as it is white.

It rules the roost atleast for a topic like this. And to remind you this year Amby celebrates the fiftieth year in being of service to this nation. Long journey ahead and you could always take your bet on an Amby. It is an enigma on Indian roads, which will last for a lifetime.

Senthilkumar Rajappan

(This is a #replug and was posted at on Sep 01, 2005 )