Tester Karthikeyan to leave Williams

Tue, 27 November 2007, 02:20

Narain Karthikeyan will not stay at Williams in 2008 as a test driver despite again being offered the position, according to his manager.

The 30-year-old Indian, who debuted for Jordan in 2005 but has since tested only part time for Sir Frank Williams’ Grove based team, is also not in the running to race for countryman Vijay Mallya’s Force India outfit next year.

Karthikeyan started testing for Williams in 2006 but would have been given even less cockpit time next season, manager Mark Perkins told the Asian Age.

“We have decided not to extend the partnership even if they are ready to renew the contract,” he said, citing the traction control ban as one of the main reasons for the split.

“All the prime drivers will be looking to do more testing on the off season, so the test drivers will hardly get a chance next year,” Perkins explained.

Several contenders are currently being considered for the vacant Force India seat for 2008, but Karthikeyan and countryman Karun Chandhok have both been ruled out.

Perkins said he did not know why Mallya, a prominent Indian businessman who earlier backed Karthikeyan’s career, was not now considering Indian drivers.

Karthikeyan explained: “I am not in the fray and I am not even expecting a final minute call from Mallya for the Jerez test. I would have got the call a month ago if they really wanted me.”

He added that his manager is in talks with “a few big teams”.

Karthikeyan’s Williams contract expires on December 31.

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