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Midland boss slams Karthikeyan

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November 10, 2005 19:08 IST

India's Narain Karthikeyan can blame his management for his failure to secure a Formula One drive with Midland next year, according to team boss Colin Kolles.

"Narain has lost out because of his management," Kolles told Thursday's Times of India. "A pro driver has professional management but we didn't see that in Narain's case."

"Narain is a very pleasant, nice person but that's not enough for Formula One. He has to be professional too."

Karthikeyan in turn slammed Kolles, with whom he has had a strained relationship.

"If he doesn't like the way we work, then we don't like the way he works," he told the paper. "I don't care what he feels about my management. Their offer, which was made in Monaco, was simply too high."

Karthikeyan, 28, became India's first Formula One driver in 2005 after signing up with British-based Jordan, bought by Russian-born Canadian billionaire Alex Shnaider in January. The team will be called Midland next year.

Although he became the first Indian to score points, finishing fourth in the six-car U.S. Grand Prix fiasco that saw the seven Michelin-equipped teams withdraw due to tyre safety concerns, he has no drive for 2006.

Midland have signed up Dutch driver Christijan Albers, who was at Minardi this year, and are expected to continue with Portugal's Tiago Monteiro.

Karthikeyan, who has turned his attention to securing a test driver role and has been talking to Williams, was quoted as saying that Midland wanted more than 10 million Euros ($11.82 million), which he could not raise.

However, Kolles said the driver was not focused enough.

"He is a quick driver for sure but obviously he needs a good set of people around him," he said. "The management's job is to take away all problems but that was never the case with him. He drove very well when his head was free."

"Money is not really the problem," added Kolles. "To succeed in Formula One, one needs a lot more."

He said Karthikeyan's presence had also not helped the team's image in India, Asia's third largest economy and one of the fastest growing world markets.

"The benefits for us were zero," he said. "It definitely proved beneficial for Narain and India but it did nothing for Jordan. India still hasn't seen the potential in Formula One."

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