Interview with Armaan Ebrahim

India’s 18-year old racer Armaan Ebrahim is the youngest in the GP2 series, which is just one level below F1. Perhaps he is the youngest ever to qualify for the series. In the last GP2 series race he finished ninth in the top ten. He may not be able to continue since he cannot afford it, and is running short of just Rs 1.24 Crore.


Armaan has been sending appeals to newspapers and asking them to publish it so that he can get sponsors. “I can then return the help by making it to F1 and winning races,” he promises.


Last month in the GP2 Asia series race at Indonesia he finished ninth in the top ten. To complete the GP2 Asia series he has three more races, but is running short of money, the nearest race being on March 22 in Malaysia. “I am short of 200,000 Euros (about Rs 1.24 Crore. Actually Rs 1,23,81,264. 39 Crore to be precise). We are asking the team to extend the time for the money, but if they insist that the money should be paid before, then perhaps I will have to pull out,” he told MiD DAY.


All Armaan’s competitors in the GP2 have done their pre season testing of six days, but Armaan has been unable to do it. That’s just because it costs 25,000 Euros (nearly Rs 15.48 lakh) per day, which he again could not afford.


 Armaan has his eyes set on the Formula 1 and wants to master racing by participating in the GP2, despite being young. “There are strong contentions that F1 will be in India in 2010. All F1 drivers have at least two years of experience in GP2. I will have gained enough experience to win the F1 till then. That’s why I am participating despite being much younger than the other drivers,” he said. He is unable to participate in the GP2 Europe, since he doesn’t have the funds.


Watching the auction of IPL players hurts him. “Figures running upto US $ 400 million (Rs 1618 Crore). I am not sure if I am hearing it right, for I am told that it is impossible to raise US $ 2 million (Rs 8.9 Crore) to participate in the GP2 Europe. I am unable to raise just Rs 1.24 Crore to complete the GP2 Asia,” he said.


His father Akram Ebrahim, a F3 champion and also a Ranji Trophy cricketer also feels hurt. “I have placed cricket and have been a racer too. Compared to motor car racing, I feel cricket is a child’s game. In racing the driver’s life is at stake. It hurts that there is so much of money in India and thousands of crore is spent on a 44 day season of cricket and there are no takers for motor race,” said Akram.


For the entire year, Armaan is running short of 400,000 Euros (nearly Rs 2.48 Crore). “He can’t sit idle the entire year and has to play in the Formula Renault which costs 200,000 Euros. The entire year’s expenses cots just Rs 2.48 Crore which is meager compared to what is spent on cricket and no one is coming forward. Companies like Ford and Honda have factories in India and are making use of Indian Economics, but are not willing to support an Indian driver. They are supporting drivers in their country,” he said.


Armaan has JK Tyres, Speed, Amaron and Elf as his sponsors, but is still running short of money. Will anyone come forward and help him?


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