Chandhok returns to F1 in Trulli’s place in Germany

2011 F1 season

Karun Chandhok, Lotus, Valencia, 2011

Karun Chandhok, Lotus, Valencia, 2011

Karun Chandhok will race in place of Jarno Trulli at this weekend’s German Grand Prix, Lotus have confirmed.

Chandhok has already made four appearances for the team this year in first practice sessions.

He said: “Firstly I want to thank Tony Fernandes, Kamarudin Meranun and SM Nasarudin for giving me the chance to race this weekend for Team Lotus.

“Ever since I first joined the team I have been looking forward to this opportunity and I am determined to do my best to repay their faith in me and help the team progress, this season and for many years to come. I am approaching the weekend in a very realistic frame of mind.

“I will be doing my best to push and to make sure I learn as much as possible all weekend, take each session as it comes and work as closely as I can with the engineers and the whole team to do the best job I can.

“Whatever happens, I am very excited about lining up on the grid on Sunday and I know there will be millions of Indian fans, and Team Lotus fans around the world, who will be behind me and the whole team, so I will do the best I can to give them something to cheer for.”

It marks a return to racing for Chandhok who last competed in the British Grand Prix for HRT in 2010.

Lotus team principal Tony Fernandes indicated his continued faith in Trulli, and said the team were looking into extending his contract:

“[Trulli] has been extremely accommodating in stepping to the side for this race and our commitment to him is unwavering.

“I am delighted to confirm that we are in the process of negotiating an extension to his contract with us and we are all looking forward to unveiling the details of that very soon. He is a key member of our team and I hope that we can give him a car as soon as possible that allows him to utilise his considerable talent to the full.”

Fernandes said of Chandhok: “Ever since I first met Karun I have been impressed with his whole demeanour – he is talented, passionate, committed and he brings great energy to the whole team so I am delighted that we are giving him the chance to add even more value to us in the cockpit over a whole race weekend.

“One of the key goals of Team Lotus is to provide a stepladder to the top of world motorsport for talent from all over the world and we have been true to that philosophy since the first days of the team. For Formula 1 to continue to develop globally we need to keep creating new opportunities for talent from around the world to reach the top and Team Lotus will continue to do its best to support that.

“As a young Asian driver Karun faces even more obstacles to achieving his goals than his counterparts from the established motorsport homelands in the West, both from inside and outside F1, and I am very proud to be able to give him this chance on merit.”

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89 comments on Chandhok returns to F1 in Trulli’s place in Germany

  1. F1 98 said on 21st July 2011, 10:05

    Poor trulli but he needs to retire

    • Valentino said on 21st July 2011, 13:59

      I guess they “fixed” the power steering issues. :)

      • Andy W (@andy-w) said on 21st July 2011, 14:51

        At least for Germany ;-)

        Personally I felt Trulli should have retired years ago… He was a great single lap specialist which served him well in qualifying but then he would race for maybe half a dozen laps before becoming a mobile chicane as he formed the Trulli train.

        I honestly couldn’t understand why any team would want a driver that every other team would then factor his qualifying position into racing strategy because they knew that in front of him would be a clear bit of track and behind him would be half a dozen faster cars desperately trying to get past him.

        Chandhock never really got a fair crack of the whip at HRT simply because he didn’t bring in the money/sponsorship/attention that his team mate did… It will be great to see him given another shot.

        • Mike said on 21st July 2011, 16:24

          In his defense, by qualifying so well it was inevitable that the faster cars would get stuck behind.

          In his defense, not so long ago he was making Glock look like an amateur, and Glock is rated well by quite a few people, judging by the comments on his driver’s ranking position.

      • Calum (@calum) said on 21st July 2011, 16:06

        Yup that was the easiest solution!

      • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 23rd July 2011, 7:49

        :lol: @Valentino!

    • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 21st July 2011, 14:02

      So true…

  2. Raj said on 21st July 2011, 10:06

    Good to see him back. I am in the hope that he will get to race at Indian Grandprix in place of trulli. But it happened much earlier & almost sure to race in indian grandprix also. Hope he can make best use of these opportunities to show his talent & get lotus drive for next year..

  3. bananarama said on 21st July 2011, 10:07

    Then why did they even put up with Trullis complaints for so long and then set him aside just as they told the world they had a solution for the powersteering?! Seems unreasonable and sort of unfair but I guess either someone pays better or they want to give him some running before the race in India so he’ll look good there.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 21st July 2011, 10:12

      It seems they are having Trulli back in the car when the power steering is updated for next race!

      Actually a ballsy move for Trulli, if he says it makes no sense driving without it, why not let Karun have a go! It will only work out if he improves a lot come Hungaroring though.

      • Nonetheless, it is brave of Jarno to take the gamble… …even if I think he’s just signed his ticket out of the Indian Grand Prix even if he is completely right and Heikki’s the only person in the world who can drive a power-steering-deficient Lotus reasonably well.

  4. Fixy (@fixy) said on 21st July 2011, 10:09

    Why? Why?
    I thought the power-steering issues were going to be resolved for this or the following race, so why now? And why do they want to extend his contract if they substitute him?

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 21st July 2011, 10:13

      I guess that is exactly why. Better for him to sit out a race where he would only be further annoyed at not having it, and be back for Hungary, than the other way around!

      If Trulli suprises come Hungaroring it will prove to have been a pretty good gamble, I thing.

      • bosyber said on 21st July 2011, 10:40

        And too, the fact that Trulli has been frustrated by working with the car, maybe a time-out helps with that too.

        I think doing it this way is a smart move by Fernandes, and a bold and smart move by Trulli.

        If Chandok does great and Trulli doesn’t feel and show much better in the car, they both will feel it might be better not to continue in this way, giving Chandok a good way in.

        If Trulli shines again, well, it changes things, and the team profits too, having had an opportunity to see how Chandok compares in a race.

        They all manage to not look petty, money-greedy, and seem to do what’s best for the team. Good effort.

      • Fixy (@fixy) said on 21st July 2011, 12:00

        Chandhok will have those issues as well if they haven’t been fixed. maybe they want to see if he can handle them better?

    • KaIIe (@kaiie) said on 21st July 2011, 10:15

      Indeed. And is this just a one race deal? Or maybe they’re putting Chandhok in the car to see if the complains about the power steering… if he doesn’t, then he keeps the seat for the rest of the year :P

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 21st July 2011, 10:18

        Not clear yet but I certainly wouldn’t bet against Chandhok being in the car in India now.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 21st July 2011, 10:30

          If he doesn’t mess up giganticly, I think its a sure bet he will be driving there now, if not earlier (Singapore, Japan).

        • TFLB said on 21st July 2011, 12:37

          I think he’ll replace Kovalainen in India.

          • Mike said on 21st July 2011, 17:28

            Considering Kovi’s performance?

            It would be like Ferrari giving Jules a shot and replacing Alonso.

          • Fixy (@fixy) said on 21st July 2011, 17:40

            @Mike – maybe they have replaced Trulli not based on his performances, and to be fair on their drivers it will be Heikki’s turn to “gift” a drive in the car to Karun, although I doubt it.

          • Simon said on 21st July 2011, 18:15

            That was my guess when I read this – that it’s an effort to make things even between the two principal drivers.

            Nothing against Trulli really but I’ll be very pleased to see Karun on the grid again – surely one of the most likeable drivers in a while.

          • The Last Pope said on 21st July 2011, 19:50

            I agree. Dispite performaces Trulli and Kovalainen have equal status in the team. As Trulli isn’t being dropped for bad performace one would expect that for India it will be Kovalainen’s turn to sit on the bench so the equality can remain.

          • TFLB said on 21st July 2011, 22:25

            @Mike: Kovalainen and Trulli are evenly-matched in the races. Kovalainen has had better luck.

          • Mike said on 22nd July 2011, 5:40

            Eh, I suspect you guys are probably right.

        • Two Indian drivers?

      • SundarF1 (@sundarf1) said on 21st July 2011, 14:44

        +1 Lol :D

    • zecks said on 21st July 2011, 11:34

      Indeed the power steerin issues have been resolved… becuase i doubt chandok is going to complain about them! Trulli needed to pipe down a long time ago

  5. Ell (@ell) said on 21st July 2011, 10:13

    I thought that. He has complained about power steering all season, made a bad impression on the team, and they want to substitute him, then renew his contract. No sense at all.

  6. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 21st July 2011, 10:14

    The plot thickens.

    I don’t expect Karun to set the world on fire, but if he does fine where Trulli has not, they may find their roles within the team reversed. Note that they didn’t say anything about Trulli’s contract being about a race seat.

    I think this a test by Lotus to see whether they have to spend so much time on one issue for just one of their drivers, when another driver is waiting in the wings.

  7. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 21st July 2011, 10:19

    Off the top of my head I make this the third time Trulli has lost or changed his seat mid-season – any advances on that? I’m counting Minardi, Renault and now Lotus.

    • sw6569 (@sw6569) said on 21st July 2011, 10:22

      From memory did he not come into the season half way through with Prost as well?

    • Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 21st July 2011, 13:00

      You might count 1997 twice, because Trulli left Minardi mid-season to drive for Prost, then lost his Prost seat for the last couple of races of the year when Panis returned. Then there would be 2004 with Renault and now 2011 with Lotus, as you say.

      • Alfie said on 21st July 2011, 17:42

        Kicked from Minardi.. Toro Rosso win the 2008 Italian GP, Sebastien Vettel soon World Champion

        Kicked from Renault.. Alonso becomes a double world champion.

        Kicked from Lotus.. Karun Chandhok world champion please?

  8. John H said on 21st July 2011, 10:27

    Good. I’m fed up with trulli moaning about the lotus. Being beat by kov hasn’t been great either.

  9. djdaveyp85 (@djdaveyp87) said on 21st July 2011, 10:31

    Good for Karun. He’s a really likable guy. He’s not really had a chance to show the world what he’s like yet, so we get to measure him against Heikki this weekend. Good luck to him.

  10. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 21st July 2011, 10:51

    Does anybody else find it strange that Trulli has been replaced without explanation?

    And this is from a team that has gone out of their way to explain things in the past – like exactly why they are Team Lotus.

    • Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 21st July 2011, 14:03

      Because there’s no money in it, nor much of an opportunity for Moany Fernandes to remind us of why he is the greatest human being that ever lived.

    • Mike said on 21st July 2011, 17:44

      Well he did give the standard PR “reason” which was to give Chandok a shot.

      However… When has any team explained in detail why it swaps drivers?

  11. Chris said on 21st July 2011, 10:53

    they obviously need some indian cash to keep going

    • suka (@suka) said on 21st July 2011, 12:36

      I am another believer of that theory because that’s how Fernandes sounds like in his comments.
      I hope Karun does not mess it up.

  12. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 21st July 2011, 11:10

    So, with Trulli missing out on Germany, that means there is just one Italian on the grid – Tonio Liuzzi. And I’ve heard talk that Hispania’s new owners, Thesan Capital was to replace him with a Spanish driver; Javier Villa was mentioned, though I don’t think the rumour has much credibility.

    When was the last time this ever happened? By my rough estimation, the last time we had a race without an Italian (not including DNQs and DNPQs) was the 1973 Swedish Grand Prix.

    • Subaru_600BHP said on 21st July 2011, 11:57

      no HIspania would be crazy to replace a driver of Liuzzi’s quality, they are lucky to have his experience, due to the drivers market being so tough, he could really do alot for Hispania.

  13. Girts said on 21st July 2011, 11:11

    Haha, this is exactly the move that I predicted in the beginning of the season when answering these questions (on F1F):

    3. Which driver will be replaced first?
    4. Who will he be replaced by?

    Except that this is not the first replacement we have seen.

    However, I am not sure that this is a good idea. Changing the drivers in the middle of a season is not something that characterizes a serious F1 team. Yes Trulli has had a weak season so far and he probably should think about retiring from F1. But I will be very surprised if Chandhok is able to deliver better results than Trulli did. And Fernandes’ comments don’t convince me.

  14. dam00r (@dam00r) said on 21st July 2011, 11:24

    Fantastic news!

  15. smifaye (@smifaye) said on 21st July 2011, 11:29

    I’m happy for Chandhok. He is one of the nicest drivers in F1. I really enjoy the 5Live commentary when he is in the booth, he is like an encyclopedia and a hardcore F1 fan. He is really enthusiastic about the sport and you can tell he loves it.

    I hope he does well and gets back into F1 full time.

  16. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 21st July 2011, 11:31

    “As a young Asian driver Karun faces even more obstacles to achieving his goals than his counterparts from the established motorsport homelands in the West, both from inside and outside F1, and I am very proud to be able to give him this chance on merit.”

    Am I the only one who sees a dig at Vijay Mallya in there?

  17. Cyclops_PL (@cyclops_pl) said on 21st July 2011, 11:57

    So I guess no more power-steering problems. Good for Chandhok and good for Lotus.

  18. Lord Ha Ha said on 21st July 2011, 12:05

    Worst thing for Fernandez would be for Chandhok to get into the car in India and embarrass all concerned like he has already at times in his few practice laps

  19. Adrian Morse said on 21st July 2011, 12:07

    Given Karun’s blistering pace on Friday mornings, this move comes as no surprise.

    Seriously though, I do not get all the positive reactions from my fellow F1Fanatics. My first reactions to the news were shock and disgust, perhaps even more so with Trulli piping the “I am happy to support Karun” tune. If he really is happy to hand his car over, then what the hell is he still doing in F1.

    As for Team Lotus, putting a pay driver in your car for FP1 is one thing, but for a whole weekend? And aren’t there better pay drivers out there? Sure, Karun is a nice guy and a knowledgable F1 fan, but if that is the criterion, then Tony Fernandes might just as well take a look around the F1Fanatic site and see if there are any particularly funny and lucid F1Fanatics around.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 21st July 2011, 13:02

      <blockquote.Given Karun’s blistering pace on Friday mornings, this move comes as no surprise.
      Yes, he found the wall very quickly in Melbourne …

      • Frederick said on 21st July 2011, 14:05

        apart from the aussie wall incident, he’s mostly just had bad luck. A mechanical failure in.. valencia, I think? and a useless wet session in silverstone.

  20. Dan Selby said on 21st July 2011, 12:27

    I think I look at it more like this:

    Karun’s going to be driving in India. It makes no sense (from a business POV) to NOT put him in there for that. Whether we agree with that on a talent perspective is a complete side-issue in this day and age of F1.

    Karun’s had little to no time in that car (for reasons he can only blame on himself in some cases, admittedly), so he needs some true preparation for that race. Sure, it’d be good to just field an Indian at the Indian GP. But why not try and add a bit of competitiveness to that?

    It’s the first Indian GP, it’s a new track. We may have incidents/some unknown quantities. Who knows, some race prep for Karun could be the difference between loitering in the midfield or perhaps scoring an extremely valuable point…

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