Thursday 24th February 2005
In a bizarre request by the Indian government, Narain Karthikeyan was told to change the colours of his helmet ahead of his debut season in F1. The government claimed his helmet, which was in the colours of the Indian flag, contravened the Flag Code of India that dictates that the Indian tricolour must not be used on costumes or embroidered on cushions, handkerchiefs or dress materials. Karthikeyan was baffled by the news: “If that is what the government wants, it is their loss. We as sportsmen are only doing the country proud by performing well. I have the tricolour on my helmet, but I can probably sell that space to sponsors and make a lot of money. I love India and I am proud to be an Indian and that’s what I want to portray. But if I can’t carry the tricolour on my helmet, it is the government’s loss.” In the end the government overlooked the Flag Code and allowed him to race with his helmet design.