Narain Karthikeyan recently said that Ricciardo is talented and has a bright future, especially with the backing of Red Bull. From his statement it is very clear that Narain doesn't harbour any bitterness towards the man who replaced him in HRT. That shows that Narain is a pragmatic individual who doesn't have much of an ego and takes things in his strides. From his statement one wonders how important is the requirement of backing or support for a F1 driver?
Any one who follows Formula 1 will be able to understand that it is not just talent alone which will bring you success. One needs to hone his talent by hours and hours of practice, exercise, diet etc. Each one of the drivers work hard. So when one driver gets to drive a superior car, he excels. Formula 1 is unlike a running race, where the better man wins. Here, the car matters a lot and also the proficiency of the team in terms of devising the strategy and tactics.
If you look at the back of the Grid in Forumla 1, you will see that Heikki Kovalainen who was once driving for McLaren and has also won a race, is languising in a slower Team Lotus car. Similarly, Timo Glock who was highly rated at Toyota is driving a lowly Virgin racing car.
Interestingly, Timo Glock missed driving in the Japanese Grind Prix in 2009. So Kobayashi who was a test driver in Toyota got a chance to race. He impressed people by his aggressive driving style. Immediately, he was swapped up by Peter Sauber for his Sauber racing. Peter Sauber is known for spotting good talents and Kobayashi has now firmly established himself in Formula 1. The Japanese teams are known to support drivers of their nationality. For example, Toyota had pushed for Nakakima to be included in the Williams team first as test driver and then as a driver, as Toyota used to supply engines to Williams. Similarly, Toyota gave a chance to Kobayashi as a test driver and he got the lucky break when Timo Glock was ruled out for the race. If Kobayashi didn't get the backing of Toyota, then he would not have been able to race. A talented person needs an avenue to showcase his talent. It is important to get the backing of a good team to be able to shine.
Unfortunately for Narain, he never got the backing of important team or group. He first test drove for Jordan and did well. Later he got a call from Minardi, but he couldn't get sufficient sponsors and the seat went to someone else. Later on in 2005 he got to drive for the Jordan team. He has won in all the series that he has participated in, except for F1 where he has only driver back of the grid cars. With undeniable talent, he is struggling at the back of the grid. So it shows that backing or support of an influential person and/or team is very important for an F1 driver.