Karun Chandhok joins HRT F1 for 2010

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

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)

Image (C) Motioncompany

134 comments on “Karun Chandhok joins HRT F1 for 2010”

  1. Its a great news for f1 fans in india.

    1. All five of them. :)

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

        1. 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.

      2. Quite a few of us in India :)

        1. add one more to it!!

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

        1. 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!

          1. Thomo from Kochi
            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

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

        1. Competitive shoe flinging?

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

          1. The women here, they practise that all the time when beating up flirts. :)

        2. 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!

          1. Rubel_Frm_BD
            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.

      5. here’s another fanatical F1 fan from India!!!

        1. hey guys…i bet its gonna be a sell out in New Delhi….here’s another F1 fanatic from New Delhi!!!

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

        1. That’s a great stat!

      7. @LewisC

        “All five of them. :)”

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

        1. ha. some people…

          1. @ Rubel_Frm_BD

            I was late to see this but hey I too is from Bangladesh

  2. Keith any pictures from the launch of HRT-f1.

    1. I was in the launch, but I didn’t make any pictures though. Anyway the design looks quite plain and the livery is just black with the team’s logo and a massive spanish-flag-style sticker all over it. No sponsors apart from Embratel and Bridgestone.

      1. Apparentely nobody took any pictures in that launch :-D

        Last time Dallara produced a competitive car was about 1989… Good luck with that.

  3. 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.

      1. Ned Flanders
        4th March 2010, 13:02

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

        1. 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.

          1. Does the 107% rule still exist in qualifying?

          2. 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.

          3. 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.

          4. 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).

          5. 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.

        2. 4th… They will need sponsors to be here next year.

    1. 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.

    2. 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?

    3. 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.

    4. 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
    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

    1. 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?

      1. 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.

    2. Boston F1 Fan
      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.

      1. “Until Whitmarsh swooped in” isn’t exactly how it’s usually described…

        1. Boston F1 Fan
          4th March 2010, 23:34

          – You’re right. Until Ron Dennis helped them out. My mistake.

  5. 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…

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

      1. 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.

        1. We are in a new modern era now, I suspect Dallara are going to be quite ok.

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

    1. 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.

    2. TeviotMoose
      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.

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

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

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

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

        1. 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.

          1. Got my vote ^^.

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

          2. 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!

          3. 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
    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. maybe make a poll on which rookies we think will finish the first race?

  11. [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.

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

    2. 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 :)

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

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

    1. Didn’t someone say that HTR would have strict “monobrow only” policy? :)

    2. I was going to say the same thing.

    3. Only enough room for one monobrow on the grid and that belongs to Alonso…

  14. yuppie!!!!One more team to cheer to!!

  15. 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. 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.

    1. @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!!!!)

      1. What evidence is there to suggest that Jordan favoured Tiago Monteiro?

        1. Karthikaien was rank rotten anyway.

      2. Hey, there’s only one KC :-)

        1. Now you got some competition!!

  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. 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. 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
    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

    1. After last year I’m very glad Senna’s got in this time around.

  21. Car launched at 16:00 according to Twitter, here’s hoping there are no more setbacks org anykind cause this campos/hrt, USF1, Stefan GP will they/ won’t they situation has gotten on my nerves.

    1. I suppose Stefan GP is definitely not happening this year….very unfortunate thanks to the jokers at USF1….If USF1 had been more forthright about their participation earlier then Stefan would have been racing this year.

  22. i dont why they signed him. they should have signed Sebastien Burdais, remember him?

  23. Beatles “Drive My Car”

    “I’ve got no car and it’s breaking my heart,
    But I’ve got a driver and that’s a start”

    1. That applies more to USF1! At least until Lopez got out of his contract!

  24. Totally agree with Sumedh

    Another Indian fulfills his dream of becoming a Formula! driver :)

    Happy for him

    1. What about the idea of a meritocracy? I know F1 clearly isn’t but wouldn’t it be a good aspiration?

  25. Yeah great news. it looks like they will have him for more than just this season, in which case he gets an opportunity to prove his worth. yes he will struggle this season, but thats the case with atleast six drivers. so its a battle in its own. his GP2 career was a mixed bag with some bad luck, he looked gud in 2008 with isport then landed in ocean which was worthless. heres his opportunity. if he does perform reasonably well among de new drivers, has an opportunity to land a Force India deal as there is growing frustration in India that Force India does not employ an Indian.

  26. Still no pictures of the car? I thought it was introduced as well, this morning…

    1. Must be still on the transporter, between Italy and Spain

  27. Lopez not even a reserve role in the team, apparently…

  28. BritishRacing
    4th March 2010, 15:39

    Super Licence ??? Can he drive F1 machine without this licence ? 300 km drive F1 car…

    1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FIA_Super_Licence

      Wikipedia seems to agree with you!

      Criteria for awarding the licence according to Appendix L:
      – five starts in F1 races in the previous year, or 15 starts in the past three years: No.
      – Previously test driver with F1 team: No.
      – Classified in top 3 of F2, GP2, or GP2 Asia in the past two years: No.
      – Top 3 of IRL or Champ Car: No.
      – Current F3 champion: No.

      – be judged by the FIA to have consistently demonstrated outstanding ability in single-seater formula cars, but with no opportunity to qualify under any of c) to e) above. In this case the F1 team concerned must show that the applicant has driven at least 300 km in a current Formula One car consistently at racing speeds, over a maximum period of 2 days, completed not more than 90 days prior to the application and certified by the ASN of the country in which the test took place.: No, and no opportunity to either – unless they organise a private test Monday/Tuesday next week!

      1. three4three
        4th March 2010, 19:57

        Good point, guess they’ll probably have to arrange a special test. I think it’s safe to say that Chandhok is the least qualified driver in F1 this year, shame he is there and Heidfeld isn’t….

  29. BritishRacing
    4th March 2010, 15:40

    Super Licence ???

    1. Not the sexiest car in the world, but great to see it. We have our teams, drivers, and cars.

      Glad to see a Senna back on the grid.

      Lets go racing! :D

  30. HE tested for redbull in Barcelona on the 13th and 14th of November so he might have completed required 300km for super license

  31. They were the drivers of iSport in 2008. Senna destroyed Chandhok!

  32. Why did Hispania make him the first driver in the team?

    1. highdownforce
      4th March 2010, 16:16

      #21 is a number closely related to Bruno Senna sponsor Embratel, that’s why he has this number.

  33. What is happening in F1 this year is absolutely disgusting. Behind the top 4-5 teams we have a bunch of amateur drivers, such as this guy, who will either cause accidents left and right, or will be lapping 5-7 seconds slower than the front-runners, best case. Mosley’s idea to expand F1 in this direction was horrible. These amateur teams are only there to fill up the grid, nothing more. F1 needs to car manufacturers back. We have already had the USF1 fiasco, teams skipping the early races, changing names, appointing drivers (who have got no clue about driving an F1 car) at the last minute, etc, etc. And then we have idiots saying what a great idea this is that will help the sport expand in country XYZ, because there is a ‘driver’ on the grid from that country. And that ‘driver’ will do nothing more than cause accidents, crash out of races and look like an idiot finishing races 5 laps behind the top cars. Mosley is an idiot.

    1. Let’s just hope that the F1 stewards are strong enough to deal with them in the same way that Yuji Ide was dealt with in 2006

    2. Have to agree. I bet the front runners and especially guys like M.S will be gritting their teeth and waiting for the carnage on the first corner of the season! Can’t wait to hear what language Mark Webber’s comments will include if someone like Chandhok clips him.

      1. I’m sure if Mark Webber clips someone its ok….considering the incident free career he has had being an experienced ( more like a midpack fixture) front runner et all

        1. Check Webbers stats in Jaguar…for 2003 – 2004 I’m sure he got a ear full from the other front runners… and that Jag was much better car than what Karun would be driving….

  34. Well at least it looks like a F1 car.

    In 1997 Lola was 7 seconds off the pace… they weren’t allowed to race. How slow would these “underdogs” (no pun intended) would have to be ban from the grid?

    1. In 1997 there was a rule that cars who qualified outside of 107% of the pole position time weren’t allowed to race (and Lola were more like 13 seconds down on pole). The rule was introduced in 1996, after the Fortis were consistently embarrassingly slow the previous year.

      However, the 107% rule was dropped with the advent of single-lap qualifying in 2003, and there was never any suggestion of it being reintroduced. Additionally there is next to no precedent for refusing cars the right to race just because they are too slow. I don’t accept the argument that it would be “dangerous” to let slow cars race…the Le Mans 24 Hours is one example of a race where the speed differentials between classes are far greater.

  35. I wanted to see him in Force India instead of Tonio Liuzzi.

    OFF Topic:
    Team FI has only name india. but there is nothing indian.They never promote racing in india, never give chance to indian driver at least as test driver. Just bring their car to any auto expo/IPL for the display. That’s it. No road show.
    Even Renault(nelson piquet jr) and Red Bull(david coulthard) had road show in India.

    why Mallya named his team Force India?

    he could name as Kingfisher or any thing else(may be Force Mallya :) )
    his team is completely private(as his one of hobbies) and has noting to do with India.


    Best Luck to Karun .

    1. He tested both Karun and Neel Jani in simulator along with Paul di resta and JR Hildebrand but none of them delivered so FI didn’t pick them. And Mallya has said if Karun proves himself then he will be 1st to give him a GOOD shot at F1.Now Karun has a chance to prove himself.

      1. Karun doesnt have to prove himself to Mallaya anymore that ship has sailed….He just needs to come good on the track. If he does so other teams will be interested. In any case Force India is no longer an option for him…

  36. theRoswellite
    4th March 2010, 23:26

    Hey, we have a grid……….

    I’m glad to see new drivers from parts of the world traditionally unrepresented on F1 grids. I hope Mr. Chadhok’s presence creates increased interest in India and with Indians around the world. (…China…we’re still waiting?)

    Anyone calling for a testing dispensation for the new teams?

    If I was Hamilton, Massa or Vettel I’d certainly prefer that these new teams worked out some of their most basic operational problems during a test session rather than in the middle of a Grand Prix…especially one like Monaco!

    After all, in the years before our present draconian restrictions Sunday afternoon would not have been looked upon as a “testing opportunity”.

  37. Being an Indian I am happy that Karun has got a drive but I suspect he will deliver.There are two main reasons:
    1) He is in the car which has zero testing so first few races will be like testing for the car.
    2) Expectations of Indian fans are crazily high, so I think he will feel immense pressure which will let him down.
    My personal opinions though.

  38. i expect some of karun’s sponsors to appear on the car.
    these are-
    Punj Lloyd
    JK Tyres
    TAG Hauer
    Wallace Sport

    hope this will give the car a healthy sponsors portfolio!

    1. Given the Bridgestone tyres, I doubt JK Tyres would be on the car… :)

  39. Narain Karthikeyan did disappear from F1 since 2005, so as we will be having Indian GP next season this may be a good opportunity too boost F1 in a cricket crazy nation.I hope he stays in F1 for more than 1 year.

    1. Narain did come across as a guy with attitude and hardly had any media presence ( always seemed sleepy and vague) not really surprised by his disappearance. That is not the impression you get from Karun watching him on Star TV… I hope he keeps his wits about him under all the pressure and delivers.
      Will wait till a few races have been completed to form an opinion.

  40. Looks very much like a move by Bernie to generate F1 interest in India. It’ll work for sure but I bet there’ll be some drivers shaking their heads and wondering how the hell he was selected out of all the promising drivers out there and why they have to share a grid with so many complete greenhorns. 18th in gp2? Come on, that’s just B.S. Don’t want to be harsh or unfair on the guy but is he another Alex Yoong? Remember? He is the Malasian driver who couldn’t even qualify sometimes cos he was too far off the pole sitters time. Yoong making it to F1 was a joke of epic proportions and I hope this guy is not going to be another one.

  41. Bernie doesn’t select drivers for teams.Teams select their drivers.Also you don’t need a champion to drive a crap car.

  42. find used car or used truck and all auto body parts for you truck and car.

    Jeep transfer case

    “Interesting post, we shall be following your blog more closely in future! Best Wishes”

  43. “He ended the season 18th in the championship having finished tenth in 2008.”

    That’s not really a great record. Fair enough he has won races but I’d expect his CV to say a bit more than 10th and 18th in GP2.

    Good luck to him though.

  44. Naturally I wish him all the best. I think however we need a poll as to whom we expect to be this years chaos causer or crash test dummy…

  45. Karun won races. But can someone the clarify meaning of sprint race ? Is this a race where a driver placed 8th in the main race gets the pole position. If I am not mistaken Karun’s race victories were in sprint races righ ?

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