Karthikeyan to pay $5M to be test driver

UPDATE #2 The folly of F1 is such that Karthikeyan will pay $5 million to be a test driver in F1 next year after being a regular driver this year. You don't go backwards in F1. Period. His sponsors are pissing away $5 million and the guy will never race in F1 again. 11/15/05 After missing out on the Midland-Jordan seat, Narain Karthikeyan may secure a 'Friday' or 'third' driver job with another grand prix team.

An associate close to the first Indian on the grid told 'Business Standard' that a 2006 deal could be announced as soon as Tuesday or Wednesday.

The news comes amid reports that Karthikeyan, 28, will remain under contract to at least seven sponsors next year, meaning that they would expect his presence in pitlane.

Narain's 'associate' said the former Jordan driver is spending the week in England during talks about the test seat. Williams, who earlier approached Karthikeyan's 2005 teammate Tiago Monteiro, is on the lookout for a paying driver to fill its 'Friday' spot.

The seat is expected to cost Karthikeyan's backers around $5m.

11/10/05 F1 team 'Midland' has denied Narain Karthikeyan's claim that the Indian is out of the running for the second race seat in 2006.

Although the 28-year-old rookie said his sponsors could not afford the $9 – $14 million price tag, a spokeswoman at the team originally known as Jordan insisted that Karthikeyan had received 'an offer for 2006-2007'.

''We have announced one driver … and there is still a slot for a second driver available.''

With Christijan Albers all signed up, though, and Tiago Monteiro just awaiting official confirmation, it might be assessed that Midland is indulging in a damage-limiting mission to effectively dump the Indian driver.

The spokeswoman persisted: ''No, no, we are very happy with the way he has been driving.'' She did admit that the hold-up was about money.

''(But) the figure that he mentioned,'' she continued, ''… it's not that. It's less.''

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