Karun Chandhok joins HRT F1 for 2010

Karun Chandhok has raced in GP2 for the last three years

Karun Chandhok has raced in GP2 for the last three years

Karun Chandhok has taken the last place on the 2010 F1 grid with HRT.

The Indian driver will partner Bruno Senna, who was his team mate at GP2 team iSport in 2008.

Chandhok has spent the last three years in GP2. He scored his first win in the category in the sprint race at Spa in 2007, and won again at Hockenheim last year.

He joined former F1 driver Tiago Monteiro’s Ocean Racing Technology team last year and was leading comfortably in the sprint race at Monaco last year when his car let him down. He ended the season 18th in the championship having finished tenth in 2008.

His appointment means Jose Maria Lopez, who was supposed to make his F1 debut with US F1, does not have an F1 race seat.

Chandhok is only the second Indian driver to race in F1. The first was Narain Karthikeyan who spent a single season at Jordan five years ago. Coincidentally, his team mate was Monteiro.

We also now have a complete list of 2010 F1 race drivers and teams with only a few reserve driver roles left to fill.

Read more: Karun Chandhok (Meet the rookies)

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134 comments on Karun Chandhok joins HRT F1 for 2010

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  1. Perveze said on 4th March 2010, 12:48

    Its a great news for f1 fans in india.

    • LewisC said on 4th March 2010, 13:01

      All five of them. :)

      • Bertie said on 4th March 2010, 13:06

        Question is do, you reckon he will be good enough to keep his seat until the 2011 indian grand prix, i doubt it.

        • todd said on 4th March 2010, 13:41

          him and bruno will both choke imo.
          then again there’s lost of rookies in, so who knows, might be the best of a bad bunch.

      • Quite a few of us in India :)

      • Dennis said on 4th March 2010, 17:42

        More like 5 million F1 fans here – you will see all of us in 2011 at the race in Delhi.

        • LewisC said on 4th March 2010, 19:23

          Guess I was wrong then!

          If India can get enough fans to a race in Delhi to make a real atmosphere (like a day-night cricket match!) it will become an instant classic. I wish you luck!

          • Thomo from Kochi said on 6th March 2010, 13:55

            Oh there are enough and more F1 fans in India. I am sure that there will be a sell out crowd when the race is held in New Delhi. After all when you have a population of over a billion, there are bound to be enough F1 fans – certainly much more than in small countries like Finland.
            When they started racing at Sepang fans flew to Kuala Lumpur to watch teh races. now of couse there’s Singapore and Bahrain which are just a few hours away.
            So New Delhi will not have any dearth of fans

      • maciek said on 4th March 2010, 18:58

        With a population like India’s, I’m not sure you could dream up a category that has only have five people in it.

        • Mike said on 4th March 2010, 23:10

          Competitive shoe flinging?

          never heard of it? I know its new, the idea came from Iraq I hear…

        • I think the reference was more of a distant global perspective of a highly populated country with water and food problems… No idea if its actually as bad as our news shows, but I’ve never heard of the huge F1 fan base of India… I’m glad that there are a good number of fans because they have an F1 team for crying out loud! Good for India!

          • Rubel_Frm_BD said on 6th March 2010, 9:47

            India may be poor but u must understand the heritage it had in past. i am frm Bangladesh where situation is almost same but do not have any F1 or A1 Gp team. But that does not prevent us to become a fan of the Motorsport and u all should remember that TATA (INDIA) is the owner of Jaguar and Jeep. So Mind It. :-

            Keith Any stat of Bangladeshi User.

      • here’s another fanatical F1 fan from India!!!

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 5th March 2010, 8:53

        India is the tenth-largest source of visitors to this site, and growing.

      • @LewisC

        “All five of them. :)”

        Would help if you pulled your head out of the sand and looked around I guess :)

  2. Perveze said on 4th March 2010, 12:50

    Keith any pictures from the launch of HRT-f1.

  3. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 4th March 2010, 12:53

    It’s great to see him on the grid, but HRT have an untested car and an all-rookie line-up. They’re going to find it incredibly hard.

    • Lustigson said on 4th March 2010, 12:55


      • Ned Flanders said on 4th March 2010, 13:02

        3rd… I just hope they can see out the season and have a proper shot at F1 in 2011

        • I just hope their predictably slow and untested car driven by two rookie drivers doesn’t end up causing an accident. The combination of a lack of speed and inexperience can be very dangerous when someone is trying to lap you at 180mph.

          • Chalky said on 4th March 2010, 14:34

            Does the 107% rule still exist in qualifying?

          • Chalky said on 4th March 2010, 14:35

            BTW – Good luck to him and Bruno. It’s going to be hard, but I’m looking forward to seeing how they progress.
            My statement about 107% is generic for all the new teams. Even Trulli reckons the Lotus is well off the pace.

          • No they scrapped the 107% didn’t they? I think when all the race fuel nonsense started. It’s hard to keep up with all the rule changes.

          • BasCB said on 4th March 2010, 19:00

            Even though Lotus and Virgin are slow, app. 3-4 secs of the pace, this is only around 104%-105%.
            The 107% limit was needed in a time when the likes of Diniz bought into an not very quick car seat and drove around (107% is about 5.5 seconds).

          • Lewis Hamilton 80.472

            Timo Glock 85.942 5.47

            Lucas di Grassi 86.16 5.688

            I don’t know if Virgin ran qualifying simulations.

        • 4th… They will need sponsors to be here next year.

    • PJA said on 4th March 2010, 12:58

      I agree that HRT look like they will struggle this season. I was hoping that with a few new teams entering all at once, even though they would be off the pace of the established teams they would be competitive with each other and so no one team would always be at last, but now I fear that HRT will always be the slowest team what with no testing and two rookie drivers.

    • BasCB said on 4th March 2010, 13:04

      So that is another good sign for Lopez. If he gets a testing role, then his earlier experience at RENAULT (even though not that much to brag about) might get him some driving on Friday to test the car and give feedback the racing drivers are not able to give?

    • Xanathos said on 4th March 2010, 13:21

      I agree.
      The first few races will be their test sessions. Senna and Chandhok have to be extremely careful not to wreck anything which will mean that they’ll be pretty slow, the back row of the grid should be theirs for the first 4 races. But if Dallara has done a good job and the car is reliable, they might still have a chance to fight Lotus and Virgin later in the year.

    • Toncho said on 4th March 2010, 16:18

      According to the Spanish press they are trying to get FIS to make the test. They would need the OK from Ferrari for that so it¡s hard to believe.

  4. Ned Flanders said on 4th March 2010, 13:04

    Let’s be honest… Chandok is a pay driver. I hope he does a Koby and suprises us all, but I reckon he is by some distance the weakest driver on the grid this season

    • And I wonder how much money he is bringing to the table. Lopez had some $7 million from the Argentine government (less almost a million blown at USF1). I wonder why Lopez wasn’t picked? Did Chandhok have more, or were there some contractual issues?

      • Fer no,65 said on 4th March 2010, 15:15

        probably becuase Chandhok is Indian, so he has a rising market behind him… plus, it’s a better long term option than Lopez, who last raced in a formula car in 2006.

    • Boston F1 Fan said on 4th March 2010, 15:19

      – He is definitely a pay driver. Chandhok is a perfect example of the ease with which incredibly wealthy fathers can get their sons into racing. I believe his dad is the head of some Indian racing league and was able to get his son into all these series’ with his many rupees. That’s not to say that he didn’t deliver and put in great performances, but it’s a far cry from Hamilton Sr. working three jobs to support Lewis’ carting career until Whitmarsh swooped in.

  5. Adrian said on 4th March 2010, 13:06

    Good to know that they’re going to make the grid, even better to hear that Bruno Senna will be driving for them.

    I personally don’t think they’ll be as bad as one might expect, as they do have Dallara backing them up…

    • Adrian said on 4th March 2010, 13:06

      …and I assume that Dallara will have used a wind-tunnel ;-)

      • Tim said on 4th March 2010, 14:03

        Dallara has been involved with F1 before and the results were not fantastic. The Scuderia Italia-run Dallara chassis managed two third places between 1989 and 1992, but both relied on weather conditions and attrition.

        More promising was the stillborn Honda F1 project of the late 1990s, for which Dallara supplied a chassis that set some very good times in Jos Verstappen’s hands.

        Being a good constructor of customer racing cars rarely equates to producing a good F1 car.

  6. Bertie said on 4th March 2010, 13:09

    Ok lets have a sweepstake. How many laps in total are completed by both HRT cars in the bahrain race. I reckon 50.

    • BasCB said on 4th March 2010, 13:14

      Good Idea. I hope they will do pretty good, but we have seen both Virgin and Lotus having trouble with the hydraulics, etc.
      Even though Dallara should have the experience to avoid any mayor problems, I am afraid, they will have some crashes and problems getting a total of maybe 20 laps on friday and some 30-40 laps into the race.

    • TeviotMoose said on 4th March 2010, 13:18

      Put me down for 65. I reckon at least one car will “finish”, the other will do approx 15 “testing” laps after the inevitable gremlins haunt it.

    • Has there been any word that they will even be racing at all?

  7. Tombong said on 4th March 2010, 13:14

    I’m happy for Karun. Finally he is able to fulfill his ambition. But, i will miss his commentary on Star Sports.

    • Yeah, it’s back to crap guest commentators for the rest of the season.

      • iceshiel said on 4th March 2010, 15:38

        I really enjoyed his commentary on Star Sports! Steve Slater is nonsense.

        • Journeyer said on 4th March 2010, 16:06

          And the only other good analyst we’ve ever had is the driver mentor of Chandhok’s teammate.

          So we’re left with… me finding a way to get BBC coverage.

          • Mike said on 4th March 2010, 23:17

            Got my vote ^^.

            ok that’s 1. 2 if you include yourself. can my dog vote?

          • Jay Menon said on 5th March 2010, 2:59

            Chris Goodwin you mean?

            Yeah, we’re stuck with Alex and Steve, useless combo, cant stand it.

            Luckily, my local in KL is trying to hook up Sky, not in keeping with the law, but hey, you gotta do what you gotta to get a good F1 race!

          • KNF said on 6th March 2010, 2:15

            Chris Goodwin is a good colour commentator, the other racer they get on board is Julian Bailey, great driver but he doesn’t speak much and his voice comes off as a bit dreary…

  8. ILoveVettel said on 4th March 2010, 13:16

    I am very proud that another Indian has got a shot at f1..
    But I fear that with no testing this season he will look worse than he actually is…

  9. It’s good to see drivers out of europe, it expands the sport.

  10. Deurmat said on 4th March 2010, 13:20

    maybe make a poll on which rookies we think will finish the first race?

  11. Macca said on 4th March 2010, 13:21

    [quote]He ended the season 18th in the championship having finished tenth in 2008.[/quote]

    With results like that he has to be a pay driver.

    • Xanathos said on 4th March 2010, 13:23

      He is.
      But thanks to Piquet, Grosjean and Kobayashi we know that GP2 results don’t have to mean that much.

    • Nirupam said on 4th March 2010, 13:30

      He did end up in 18th and 10th, but remember he was not part of a leading team either. He definitely should be better than Narain Karthikeyan though, at least his junior formulae results suggest so.
      Moreover, his twitter page gets updated pretty frequently, much like Kovi :)

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 4th March 2010, 14:34

        He did end up in 18th and 10th, but remember he was not part of a leading team either.

        Glock won the title with iSport in 2007. But Ocean last year were definitely not a top team.

        • Filipe said on 4th March 2010, 17:07

          Ocean might not have being a great drive, but was not a bad one either. His teammate Alvaro Parente finish the season well (I’m lazy to check it now but I think he was 7th or so) despite lots of bad luck. It was not ART, but was no worse a ride than the likes of Arden or DAMS.

          • Jay Menon said on 5th March 2010, 3:04

            I agree, we should not judge Karun based on his GP2 results.

            From what I’ve seen, he’s a very agressive driver and has pace, its just that he needs his talent to be nurtures correctly, I dont think HRT have the right personel for that.

            From what I’ve seen he has a lot more pace that Narain Karthikeyan, and he is supremely confident.

            I think he might do well, but its going to be hard with the Campos car. It might be difficult to compare both drivers at Campos, the driver that has brought in the most money, will get the number status and I suspect that is Bruno!

  12. On the one hand it is good to see that HRT have finally got a full lineup. On the other hand, Chandhok’s GP2 teammate from last year completely obliterated him and is struggling to find a drive for this season, having been dropped by Virgin at the eleventh hour. Not exactly fair.

  13. sato113 said on 4th March 2010, 13:31

    good for him, but he’s got to get rid of the mono-brow!

  14. Arun.India said on 4th March 2010, 13:43

    yuppie!!!!One more team to cheer to!!

  15. Dev said on 4th March 2010, 13:44

    he is a pay driver but nothing wrong with that… he needs to do finish as many races he can… matching his team mate if not beating him… but i have my doubts…

    as for lack of testing, who knows they might be better than the other new teams… both Virgin n Lotus are 3 secs off pace besides having occasional hydraulic probs… the bar is not that high for them…

  16. sumedh said on 4th March 2010, 13:45

    Good for Indian fans like me.

    Its good to see an increased Indian presence on the Formula 1 scene. It goes a long way in developing interest for the Indian GP in 2010.

    But I think more important than having just a driver is performance. When Narain entered F1 in 2005, there was similar hope but he failed to live upto the expectations of Indians (which are crazily high. No one expects Sachin to score anything less than a century when he comes out to bat).

    He even got beaten by his team-mate.

    I suspect similar fate will befall Karun. It is more important that Force India keeps performing consistently this year. That will increase the enthusiasm of the sport in India more than Karun’s appointment as the driver of a team that hasn’t yet turned a wheel.

    • Indian Fan said on 4th March 2010, 17:57

      @Sumedh…i don’t know if you watched the 2005 season mate…NK had a very aggressive style which did not suit the car…he is a very fine driver and by no means less than Karun…because of NK we were exposed to F1, and he did a brilliant job in a team which favoured Tiago Montiero!!!…and though i am overwhelmed for KC i have my doubts just like yours…if you look at Senna’s record KC will be beaten hands down…so just pray that he gives his best and proves us wrong…but never say NK was a bad driver..for me he’s a great Indian driver who would have done far better if luck had supported him(he wud have been driving a williams alongside nico rosberg had toyota not been in between..they brought with them to the team kazuki nakajima who has never shown any brilliance on track or off it. also NK was once rated better than Jenson Button in giving driver inputs to engineers…so you can just think he must be good enough to win atleast some races if not the championship!!!!)

  17. I already commented about that on my twitter account – according to some pictures I saw he shaved a spot betwen the eyebrows.

    I’m glad for him – he is on par with Webber for ammount of ill luck he has in racing. I’m really suprised why he isn’t driving for Force India – maybe they will take him on if he proves himself in Hispania…

  18. James said on 4th March 2010, 13:51

    I feel extremely sorry for Lopez. He was made promises and they werent delivered. I wonder if he has grounds for sue USF1/Ken Anderson?

  19. GeeMac said on 4th March 2010, 13:58

    So in the last few days the team have changed their name and confirmed their driver line up. Now there is the small matter of launching their car…

  20. Robert McKay said on 4th March 2010, 13:58

    I’m just glad Senna, the best of the three on paper, didn’t get booted for a Chandhok and Lopez combo. Probably on balance it worked out right in that respect.

    Can’t say I rate Chandhok much but Kobayashi’s GP2 career is not stellar but it didn’t stop him impressing in 2 outings for Toyota last season.

    Real problem though is that HRT have not tested and noone really knows how good a job Dallara have done on that chassis, especially given Campos was struggling to keep up the payments. How much effort and time did Dallara appoint to such a project? I doubt they will start the opening rounds on a level that matches Virgin/Lotus, but I’ve been wrong (many times) before :-D

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