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Williams may rope in Narain as ‘pay driver’

London: India’s Narain Karthikeyan could be roped in by Williams as a “pay driver” for the new Formula One season as the F1 team is on the lookout for drivers for test and reserve positions.

The possibility of Karthikeyan making it to the Williams’ team has strengthened after its chief Frank Williams went on record to say it would run a third car on the Fridays in 2006 even if it meant stretching his already thin financial resources, an automobile magazine has reported.

A number of “pay drivers” who might be considered, include Narain, Christijan Albers and Robert Doornbos ' all of whom raced in F1 this year, it said.

F1 teams voted to allow the bottom six teams in the constructors championship to continue running a third car on the Friday of a Grand Prix weekend, despite attempts by FIA president Max Mosley to eliminate the practice.

Williams, whose team finished fifth in the standings this season, said even though it would be a financial penalty for them to do so, running a third car is something they have to do.

One option for the team is to hire a pay driver for its test and reserve position. Brazilian Antonio Pizzonia carried out third driver duties for Williams in 2005 but he is not expected to return, given that he is unlikely to secure the remaining full-time seat alongside Mark Webber next season.

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