Karun Chandhok, Lotus, Monza, 2011

Should Chandhok and Karthikeyan race in India?

Debates and pollsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Karun Chandhok, Lotus, Monza, 2011
Karun Chandhok, Lotus, Monza, 2011

F1 could have two Indian drivers on the grid for next month’s inaugural Indian Grand Prix.

Karun Chandhok and Narain Karthikeyan are tipped to make one-off appearances at Lotus and HRT.

But should F1 teams drop their regular drivers to make way for sponsor-friendly local talent?

For

Just a few weeks ago we were discussing how F1 had failed to create local interest in Turkey, whose Grand Prix disappeared from the calendar after just seven years.

Promoting local drivers in this way can only be good for F1’s profile in an important new market.

It’s also good to see teams giving other drivers a chance to make names for themselves in Formula 1.

Against

The Indian government has refusing to allow the teams to avoid customs duties, as is the practice at other races. This could jeopardise the running of the race.

The government has done so claiming F1 is ‘entertainment’ rather than ‘sport’. This is a transparent attempt to make more money from the race. As written here earlier, claiming F1 is not sport is ignorant nonsense.

But that fact is undermined when drivers who are supposed to be racing on merit are shown to be interchangeable with those bringing more funds or attention.

I say

In one sense, I’m rather ambivalent about this debate – it’s up to the teams to decide who they put in their cars.

But I do think it asks some interesting questions about how far F1 should go the court popularity in new venues, and whether the sport is diminished by having its regular competitors replaced by others who are more appealing to local audiences.

The shortage of opportunities for new drivers to gain testing mileage makes it hard to fault teams trying to promote emerging talent. But that description does not fit a driver who made his F1 debut six years ago.

You say

Should Karun Chandhok and Narain Karthikeyan race in India?

  • Chandhok and Karthikeyan should get to race (34%)
  • Just Chandhok should get to race (28%)
  • Just Karthikeyan should get to race (2%)
  • Neither driver should get to race (24%)
  • No opinion on which driver should get to race (12%)

Total Voters: 289

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143 comments on “Should Chandhok and Karthikeyan race in India?”

  1. Voted both, Dont really mind as it wont affect me much. I would prefer Karthikeyan gets in though so Riciardo doesnt.

    1. so Riciardo doesnt.

      Why so vindictive towards Ricciardo? He’s clearly more deserving of a race seat than Karthikeyan.

      1. How is he more deserving? I just dont like Ricciardo so I would prefer not having him on my TV screen.

        1. But that has nothing to do with whether he’s deserving of a race seat on pace and ability, and his tests in an STR and the RB6 seem to point to having both – If you don’t like Vettel, would that mean he doesn’t deserve his Red Bull car? No, it shouldn’t, even though it would have made the WDC this year possibly more interesting.

          1. I didnt say that was why he wasnt more deserving. I said thats why I didnt want him to race, and I asked a question about how he was more deserving. Two completely different things…

        2. How is he more deserving?

          Have you had your hands over your eyes? British F3 champion, WSR runner-up last year, he’s already out-qualified Liuzzi which is more than Karthikeyan managed. How can you seriously think Karthikeyan is a better prospect?

          1. Once again, I have READ results, Not SEEN anything, Results can only tell you so much. Look at Maldanado in GP2 last year, I have read multiple reports saying he only got it because no one else was left, and now he is doing nothing in F1, Unless you count driving into people on purpose…

          2. I have READ results, Not SEEN anything

            So you weren’t watching qualifying at Monza, then?

            Still no idea why you think Karthikeyan is better.

          3. No one could seriously say that Karthikeyan has better prospects in terms of performance. But I suspect fordsrule just doesn’t like him, like I don’t like Montoya, Raikkonen or Maldonado… I don’t think he is necessarily commenting on performance.

          4. Fordsrule (well they did over 100 years back :-P), the fact you have not been watching, doesn’t mean its not there.

            Ricciardo certainly does make an impression, being constanctly close to Liuzzi in performance from the go and having beaten him in qualifying as well.

            Maldonado is not setting the world alight as a future F1 champion, but he does a very solid job beating Barricello in qualifying. Some of his lack of results is to do with circumstances out of his control (Car failures).

          5. Like it or not if Ricciardo was that great RedBull should have chopped of Alguersueri/Buemi or played musical chairs at STR (which is still their team B, since its not yet sold), but as it turns out Ricciardo is just another pay driver who has not exactly set the junior formulae on fire to stake claim on F1 seat.

          6. Oh, he finally outqualified Liuzzi with an 1 tenth advantage! What an achievement! :) Is that really everything what was Dr. Marko and media expecting from him? I don t think so…

          7. The guy’s five races into his F1 career. Expecting much more from him at this stage, given how little mileage he had in the car prior to Silverstone, is not realistic.

            And he wasn’t the one heading to the first corner backwards on the grass, was he?

          8. I’m pretty sure any new driver 5 races into his career in an awful car would perform the same if not worse. And I’m also pretty sure the Toro Rosso drivers actually have proper contracts for this year, which is why Ricciardo hasn’t replaced them, not because of a lack of faith. I don’t believe they’re putting him in HRT to assess his performance, they’re doing it to prepare him for his first full season with Toro Rosso. And the reason he is more deserving is that he has performed very well in lower formulae, and that is often an indication of future performance. Karthikeyan on the other hand has been distinctly average to poor in every series since the late 90’s, including F1.

          9. I agree, which is why it’s preposterous to suggest Karthikeyan deserves the drive more than Ricciardo.

          10. may be he is form india.

        3. We’re not comparing Ricciardo to a good driver. It’s Narain karthikeyan. Ricciardo has done a lot better against Liuzzi than Karthikeyan.

          1. I am for chandok & no for Karthikayen. We should understand that chandok is kind of third driver for Lotus, so in a way he is not like picked from some where in F3000 or with loads of sponsorship etc. It’s true he did terrible job at germany but probably that guy deserves second chance.
            Reg Karthikayen i still wonder how he got his drive back in to F1. More confounding is how come TATA came forward to sponsor HRT & him. I don’t see any value being added to TATA (also owners of Jaguar). They used to sponsor Ferrari (TATA software company which develops software for Ferrari) with a very small presence at some where in back. I think that’s more worth than putting their name on HRT.

            Anyway if F1 is fully on merit basis, Hulkenberg could have been driving in 11, chandok, senna & yomamoto wouldn’t have got drives in 10, maladano & perez may not be driving in 11…..

            Moreover when teams were selected based on their financial credentials (new teams), why not they go for financial consideration in selecting drivers for specific races. Even they need some money to move up the ladder.

        4. Well for a start Karthikeyan’s had a chance in the past to prove himself. And he never qualified above Liuzzi as far as I can recall.

      2. Yes, please explain that to me. Why would you rather see an old man, well past his prime. Not that his prime was much to talk about in the first place. Driving instead of an up and coming rookie driver,with seeming loads of potential?

        1. How does Ricciardo have “seeming loads of potential”? Just because he is back by RedBull doesnt mean he does. I have not seen anything to say he does, I have read results, but not seen anything from him.

          1. See my post above. You might even ignore his results, but he only needed a few races to out-qualify Liuzzi, which shows he has some speed at least. He might be able to do more. While Red Bull’s young driver program hasn’t proven to be faultless, they do pick up fast guys. Even if most aren’t able to show much added value when in F1, they at least deserved a change, as you don’t really know that before you try.

            Karthikeyan has had time to prove his potential, and there is some, but not much, not enough for a full season seat.

          2. I think Ricciardo is becoming one of the best rookies of the year. He has done more feats in that car to make me notice an HRT in the field – well until Luizzi’s glory run at Italy.

          3. Hey fordsrule.

            I am guessing you don’t have a Holden, and I am guessing you have an opinion on Ricciardo. You don’t have to justify it without stats, or have people change your mind because of stats. A part of what makes F1 fun to watch is rivalry – and having teams and drivers you like, and those you don’t.

            Good on you for taking the time to be honest about your opinion and sticking to it.

          4. Ricciardo is only second to hulkenburg in terms of rookies with results in lower categories. He has earned his place for sure.

          5. JustAnF1Fanatic
            14th September 2011, 13:03

            maybe fordsrule is Karthikeyan using an alias?

          6. Judging from comments over the last 2 months I’d take him as serious as out Bahrainy friend from a few weeks back.

          7. As mentioned previously, what we have above is either the brother of one of Ricciardo’s ex-girlfriends, or a perfect example of the Australian tall poppy syndrome in action.

          8. Generally if you look at the results so far in his career you can see his potential. Add to this his efforts in the RB6 – with limited mileage remember – he was fast, not only for a rookie but fast overall. He is probably the best talent from red bull driver development since Vettel. Karthikeyan simply put is rubbish. The only reason he has ever driven anything is because of money. The new alex Yoong.

        2. @Bobtheblob – Just not sure if you mean that as a dig at Liuzzi, Trulli or Karthikeyan really :-)

  2. As much as I like Chandhok – he’s a very genuine guy, and a great commentator on R5L – I don’t think he or Kathikeyan should be racing in India, simply for the fact that drivers shouldn’t be put in the car just because it’s their home race. It sets a dangerous precedent.

    Should HRT find a young Korean racing in F3000 with a wealthy background who they could put in the car for the Korean race?

    1. I don’t think it’s a precedent to give a driver a job because of their nationality!!!!!!

  3. An Indian driver at the Indian Grand Prix is a wonderful idea. But at least respect the Indians enough to give them a driver who can properly represent them. As popular as he might be among the teams and the fans, Karun Chandhok simply in’t fast enough for Formula 1. And I don’t think Narain Karthikeyan is a particuarly good example of someone to represent them.

    But, as I’ve been saying since the idea of Chandhok racing in India first broke – which was probably the moment he joined Team Fernandes – I think it sets a poor precedent, where drivers are chosen on the basis of their nationality rather than talent. I know drivers get picked all the time because of their ability to deliver sponsors, but I can live with that because I know that a lot of drivers bring sponsors, and because they need to have a certain degree of skill to get into Formula 1 regardless of how much mone they can throw about. But picking drivers for one race on the basis of their nationality dilutes the talent pool.

    1. When there are a lot of very talented drivers, more than there are seats, as is clearly the case right now in F1, I can understand that those with the best sponsor package are chosen. Especially so as F1 costs a lot of money to do well, so it will in turn help the team’s progress in the sport too. I don’t always like the results, but it is, as you say, quite understandable.

      But then replacing drivers for individual races is hard to understand as helping the sporting results. It is a sponsor event in a sports match, and thus doesn’t really belong there.

      In a way, the Le Mans the non-pro teams being in a separate GT class is a better way to go: Enthusiasts can try, with their own funding, to see how far they can get, and show their speed and – if they are really good, they might get far, and even become professional racers.

      Hm, I guess that if Chandok and Karthikeyan would start their own team, I would wonder about their success, but I would wish them well, but that isn’t really something that can be done in F1 anymore.

    2. And I don’t think Narain Karthikeyan is a particuarly good example of someone to represent them.
      >> Maybe you are thinking something on these lines – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vX0a_LyCM6c

      1. No, that’s not what I mean at all.

        When you talk about India and Formula 1, what is the first thing that comes to mind? It’s not Narain Karthikeyan. Putting him in the car for the Indian Grand Prix would be a bit like putting Sakon Yamamoto in a car to promote the Japanese Grand Prix. Sure, he’s a Japanese driver for a Japanese race – but is he really the best Japan has to offer? In the same way, Narain Karthikeyan is not representative of India. One suspects the only reason why he joined Jordan in the first palce was because Bernie wanted an Indian driver. Likewise, I very much doubt Karthikeyan would have been driving for Hispania at all this season were it not for the inclusion of the Indian Grand Prix on the calendar.

        I just think the Indian fans deserve something more than Narain Karthikeyan being held up as the representative of India.

        1. I would respectfully disagree on this particular point. Being from india, majority of indians would say Karthikeyan is the first thing that comes to the mind if you tell F1. I don’t claim he is a great driver or anything like that but being the first driver from India in F1 does get you respect and deservedly so.

          1. Just checked 2005 season. Karthikeyan had almost similar results to his teammate. So not sure why he is considered very slow here. I would totally disregard his 2011 season where he has been totally outpaced by Luizzi as by that logic rosberg is miles better than schumi in 2010.

            But anyways am voting that neither should race in India :) – Chandhok doesn’t hold a candle to Trulli and i haven’t seen enough of Riccardio to comment about HRT.

          2. Yeah, its like talking about Tomas Enge in the Czech Republic.

            Who cares he is better known for having a championship taken from him for smoking a joint than for memorable driving.
            He was the first Czech driver in F1 and that gets noted.
            And Kartikeyan surely had some suprisingly spectacular drives at Jordan.

    3. I think neither should drive.
      Karthikeyan was HRT’s driver, and was dropped mid-season, so he can have some rights in returning, but Chandhok doesn’t as he substituted for Trulli when he had no power-steering, and performed badly. Now Trulli’s up to pace, Chandhok isn’t the better option.

  4. I think they should get to race. Karthikeyan is a shining example to all of India’s youth that if they really want it hard enough, they too can achieve anything their heart desires… as long as they have the money and the sponsorship.

    Chandhok is another a further example to India’s youth that being talented and skilled isn’t everything in life, but that being a decent person with a likeable personality is also important too… and bringing a load of sponsorship $$$ with you doesn’t hurt either.

    1. Haha I love your sarcasm maggie!

    2. LOL

      Well, as others have said, they at least aren’t a danger to the rest of the drivers. In fact both are decent drivers, but don’t seem to really be able to make light up the timing screens.

      Pay drivers (as these two are) are currently not horrible drivers that bought the seat. Rather, they are talented drivers, who just aren’t talented enough that you’d take them over other candidates. But they bring enough money that you’d take them over great talent without.

      But from a sporting perspective, I don’t like to think how Ricciardo, who is a clear talent, and Kovalainen (Trulli already did his swap), who is a talented racer that can take the Lotus to it’s current max, lose out for this race, only because it is a new race in a new country, and these guys buy their seat for money over the year.

      I do hope it does help create interest in India, because, or it would also have been largely pointless for the sport.

    3. LOL MAG!

      Yup. Still, I voted with having No opinion, as I really do think its undecided.

      I do not mind them being there, they did what was needed to get there, so great for them. And it really is a nice touch these teams are able to provide them the chance.

      But the fact they would not be there if not for hoards of money and special interests does get into conflict with the sporting side of things (not just for these two, its for all drivers maybe save a handfull of them).

  5. F1 must distinguish between the marketing needs, which can’t be ignored of course, and the need to maintain respect as the pinnacle of motor racing, including driver talent.
    Whilst I don’t wish to denigrate either of the two drivers, I don’t think they’ve proved good enough to get on the grid on pure merit. It wouldn’t be a good precedent either, would it? Practice – OK. But not the race.

  6. The i1SuperSeries is an India-based racing series taking place in the winter. Nine teams, each of two drivers, one of which is Indian, the other of whom is ‘foreign’. There will be seven races in Asian cities, including two in India.
    So you can’t say that F1 is India’s only opportunity to see Indians racing at their track. And with big cricket stars such as Sachin Tendulkar getting involved in i1ss with team ownership (he of course is a big F1 fan himself), India has plenty to see. There are only about nine Indian racing drivers, so it’s not like missing out in F1 will mean missing out on driving at the track.
    Interestingly, some of the foreign names linked to the series include the teammates of Karthikeyan and Chandhok (but not Ricciardo), as well as several former F1 drivers.
    It’s not critical for these guys to drive in the Indian GP. And they will be at the back of the grid where it is incredibly difficult to make an impression. All in all, it seems like a waste of time to me.

  7. As a one off for this years race I have no problem with it. It’s bound to draw more interest in the country.

    I hope it doesn’t set a precedent though. As nice as they are, Karthikeyan and Chandhok don’t really have what it takes for F1 but fortunately they’re not a danger to other competitors and at least have some experience. If it leads to the situation where cash strapped teams bring in inexperienced drivers based on nationality for certain Grands Prix however, then that’s a potentially slippery slope.

    Someone said this in the comments t’other day, but I also respect Vijay Mallya’s position of not putting an Indian driver in his car until one of suitable talent comes along.

    1. but I also respect Vijay Mallya’s position of not putting an Indian driver in his car until one of suitable talent comes along.
      >> Mallya is just using F1 cars to show case his alcohol products, advertising alcohol/Tobacco products in banned in India, so Mallya has found a good way to show his wares on without coming under radar of vigilence.

      And its the same reason, why he doesn’t want the Indian Driver who has geniune backing of mainstream Indian Business Houses and has sponsorships that are more relevant to motorsports – Motor companies, Automotive parts, Fuel etc;

      If Mallya had hired Narain (who was then just out of F1) back in 2007, Mallya would have to share the limelight with mainstream Indian businesses something that the Egotist didn’t wanted to do. So he stuck with drivers who took more than a year to take his car to Q2 and their best results till 2010 were just one fluke podium and one running 4th in wet weather race.

      Looking at Narain’s capability when he was knocking on doors of F1 in 2004, if Narain was given the same opportunity that Mallya gave to Sutil and Fisichella, FIF1 results would still have been same and Narain and Karun would have grown with the Indian team.

      Mallya doesn’t want to advertise anything but his own products so he has made his own choices….. Nothing related to motorsports and talents in Mallya’s decision..

      1. Getting into Q2 only took 12 races (the first time Force India managed it after Vijay took over was Monza 2008, following several occasions where one driver or the other got close) despite the team being very short of money at critical parts of its development path (previous owners Spyker brought masses of enthusiasm but had money troubles and couldn’t fund the team very well). The 4th-place race (Monza 2009) was completely dry (perhaps you are confusing it with Monza 2008, where both qualifying and the race were very wet).

        Narain is not as bad a driver as he is sometimes painted, but this does not necessarily mean he was the right man for the job. Adrian Sutil was under contract at the time and the team really needed someone with experience at helping to build up a team to make progress. Narain had never had the opportunity to develop or demonstrate the necessary skills. Without them, the Force India team’s path would have been reminiscent of Lotus’ – respectable for a team with its financing (though due to the money, 8th-9th rather than Lotus’ 10th) but not the spectacular over-performance it’s managing. Speed alone would not have been enough.

        Some “pay drivers” were tested in the shoot-out, but that was primarily for the position of test driver (also vacant at the time). There was no way that a test seat at Force India would have been considered superior to a test seat at Williams (which Narain had at that time). Therefore there was no point in him being invited to the shootout. Since then, it’s turned out that the test driver at Force India’s always been the one to get the race seats as they’ve fallen vacant, so no realistic opportunity for Narain since.

        As to the lack of other Indian companies on the Force India, there’s been a massive reduction in costs in F1 since Vijay arrived. Force India has deliberately kept to the strictest version of RRA so that it doesn’t need to do the layoffs and spending cuts that the bigger teams are having to do to get to the eventual RRA level. Perhaps the other companies are no longer needed to subsidise the outfit, in which case Vijay is entitled to do a Red Bull and put promoting his own vision (and companies) above anyone else’s.

        1. You again make my point, Narain qualified a car with zero development (essentially 2004 spec car) outside top 10 twice in 2005. Something that took more than a season for FIF1 car with VJM throwing monies for development.

          If Narain and his managers had enough PR skills and readiness to suck up to the British/English Media, those performances could have kept him in talk. Just like Hulkenberg who was whooped by Barrichello, but yet his only stake to legitimate F1 drive is that pole lap which was mainly because of he was the only car on the track that was at the right place at right time in terms of track conditions and operating window.

          But Press keeps harping that freak lap over and over to justify why Nico should get race seat.

          Regarding VJM, having had to do business with lots of his operations, I can say with enough information, that he is in F1/Airline business to hammer the “KingFisher” logo on the the Yuppie Indians who can buy his alcoholic beverages. All his sports investments are for Liquor promotion and he doesn’t want to share that spot with mainstream and diverse Indian Business houses from Automotive, Banking, Insurance Sectors, who are still backing the Indian drivers….

          1. In what sense have I made your point? The 2008 car was the 2007 car with a few changes for compliance, which was itself the 2006 car with a few changes to correct the most basic errors Mike Gascoyne found when he arrived at Silverstone. It was typically further off the pace than the 2005 car (except at Monaco, where the EJ15 was particularly terrible and the VJM01 particularly… …less so). The 2006 car is the only major upgrade between the car Narain drove and the VJM02 in 2009. The development money in 2008 was almost exclusively thrown at the VJM02, just as the majority of the development money in 2005 was thrown at what eventually became the M01. I am not saying Narain is bad, I am saying he was the wrong driver for Force India in 2008.

            (For the record, I believe Narain was the right driver for Jordan in 2005, and would probably have been a better choice than Nakajima in the Williams in 2007-2009, which would have put him in a better car than the VJM01 in 2008 anyway. Sadly Williams needed an engine…)

            Narain could not have kept his seat at Jordan on performance alone because the team needed money to survive and Christijan Albers had more (to the tune of several million dollars, if the rumours are to be believed). Remember Jordan/Midland nearly went down trying to survive on the trickle of money from Russia before Spyker came along. No amount of sweet-talking or success would have got him out of that one.

            Nico Hulkenburg is another matter entirely – he’d probably make a good choice if there was a vacancy at Force India, but some of his FP1s this year show he is not the completed article. That part of your scepticism I can understand.

            Vijay may not want to share his car’s space with other sponsors, but given how much lower costs are than what he would reasonably have expected when he entered, why would he?

  8. Aboslutely not! It’ll turn F1 into an episode of the Simpsons – having guest stars appearing when the ratings are low..
    Thinking about it, isnt Bernie E the spit of Moe Syzlak..

    1. Moe? I’d say Montgomery Burns :)

      1. good call

        1. Bernie’s as ruthless, too. :P

          That said, I’m more neutral-wouldn’t mind on Chandok and Karthikeyan racing at home. Mainly because it’s their home Grand Prix, which admittedly, isn’t a good enough reason :P

  9. The teams need to decide what’s in the best interests of the team, and that is not putting in a second rate driver for there more established ones just because he has the right nationality.

    If India is a ‘normal’ race with no chance in hell for the ‘new’ teams to grab points, you’d think sure, why not?

    But what if India is some crazy race where half the grid gets decimated and the backmarkers have a chance to pick up say 12th place, earning them that all important 10th place in the constructors?

    Would you want Chandhok in Trulli’s place, and Narain in Ricciardo’s place then? I wouldn’t. Too much is at stake. The possible money earned from 10th in the constructors is worth more than some extra media exposure in India.

    1. Maybe that’s why Virgin don’t have an Indian of their own there?

  10. I’d rather see them earn a race seat on merit, not just because it’s the inaugural Indian grand prix.. So a yes and a no for me :)

  11. Initially I thought let them race, seems like a nice idea, no brainer.

    Then I read a few of the arguments noted above against it. Does seem tough to the incumbent drivers and bad precedent etc.

    I also thought that maybe it seems just a little condescending to the Indians.

  12. I am for running local drivers in an one-off race.

    Like you correctly mentioned, F1 needs local talent to sustain interest. F1 did that mistake in Turkey. And has already done that in China. The approach needs to be different in India.

    Also, Bruno Senna has shown at Renault that one full season at the back of the field is not a true judge of a driver’s potential. So, even if Riccardio or Trulli miss one race, it is not going to do them much harm.

    Let the two race!

  13. Were HRT or Team Lotus in a position to score points then i’d consider this question in more depth. As they are not, F1 is simply a PR exercise for them at the moment. Putting the Indian drivers in the Indian grand prix is PR gold. Therefore, it’s the right decision.

  14. I voted no opinion because I believe it’s up to the teams who to put in their cars.

    For the same reason, I’m not too worried about the precedent it would set: if the teams think they can get enough exposure to offset the expected loss in performance, then I can understand why they would want to run them.

    Ultimately, getting a place on the F1 grid is not about being worthier than other drivers, but about putting a deal together (as long as you qualify for a super license, and unfortunately I feel Chandok is borderline in that respect).

  15. As they both have recent F1 experience then I am not too worried in this case.
    But I do think that the FIA should state what the minimum standards are.

    1. But I do think that the FIA should state what the minimum standards are.
      >> FIA minimum standards are possession of FIA super license. Which both the drivers have thanks to their experience in racing categories mandated by FIA.

      This blog site is unnecessarily stirring pot on a non-issue and just providing biased fans to vent out the vitriol out of their system.

      1. What rubbish. The responses so far have shown a broad range of well-considered views on the subject and the voting is anything but one-sided.

        1. Ask the man in the mirror :)

  16. It’ll be a nice novelty for the fans, just hope it won’t be a habit.

  17. But that fact is undermined when drivers who are supposed to be racing on merit are shown to be interchangeable with those bringing more funds or attention.

    While I agree that there are better choices for drivers than Chandhok and Karthikeyan, I think both did a decent job with the equipment they had. You can’t have a grid full of Vettels, Hamiltons and Alonsos anyway. And if putting them in the car brings in extra money and publicity for both their respective teams and the Grand Prix in India, I don’t mind if the teams do so.

  18. i am an Indian…i can say one thing for sure, for F1 to be popular in India, local representation is required…Period!…..during the Commonwealth Games, the events without Indian participation had no spectators, literally!! If u ask ‘what does f1 stand to earn from India?’, just look at cricket…..India’s 3 World cup victories have made the intl cricket council one of the most richest sporting federations!

    1. So, that’s a valid point, if a bit sad. There clearly should be a way F1 can do better to get new people in. But I still doubt this is the way to do it.

      I will concede that in this instance, as a one off to celebrate a race in a new country, for teams that don’t have much change of getting points, and aren’t likely to have this one race decide the 10th WCC spot, I can live with it.

      But I think there have to be ways to do better in the future.

    2. That is sad, really. You should go to see and F1 event if you’re a fan of F1, of the sport, because F1 is a sport where everyone plays at once.

      It’s like how I bet the grandstands of Monza would be empty if Ferrari weren’t in the sport. So much for a love of motor racing and of F1… they’re just there to see a red car. You can see a red car anywhere, to be honest.

      If the people of india don’t want to turn out to watch F1 if there isn’t an indian driver or team (Force India are British, after all), then F1 shouldn’t be racing there. Just like they’ve finally realised with Turkey.

      1. To be fair, once there, and while they appreciate a Ferrari on the podium more than any other car, the Tifosi at Monza cheer for good moves by others (especially if not on a Ferrari, true).

      2. I agree with the OP. Indian people will show up way more if their countrymen are represented. You have to realize, personal car ownership in India is a relatively new thing. They do not have the long US or EU heratige of “car culture”.

        Agreed, and Indian driver will not affect the hard-core Indian F1 fan, but thats not the point. The point is to INCREASE VIEWERSHIP of F1 in this new market. For this goal, KC and NK make complete sense.

        That said, its still a bit distastful to have such a blatent consession for commercial interests. Just another gross reminder that, to the FOM, fans, racers, cars are only a medium for gaining profits.

  19. More Indian more opinions, so let me add mine.
    I don’t think, presence of any of them will act as a crowd puller, in fact, I will go to that extent in stating that even presence of Force India won’t do better (I am a hardcore FI fan).
    Lots of facts to support that:
    – People here are much obsessed with likes of Hamilton, Alonso, Shumacher. Only handful of people knows Sutil and DiResta
    – Although cricket is touching its saturation point, Tennis and Football (espcially EPL) still way ahead in popularity than F1
    – Many sports enthustiast are bugged by the fact that what’s fun in watching a car zooming past you for a fraction a second.
    Indian GP will defintely boost F1 in India but it has nothing to do with Karun, Narain and even FI.

    From
    Crazy Force India and f1 fan

    1. Only handful of people knows Sutil and DiResta

      They all know who Sutil and DiResta is.

      Only handful of people might support Sutil and DiResta though they are obsessed with Hamilton, Alonso, Shumacher.

  20. If the Indian Goverment cannot call F1 a sport but whant to make money out of F1 Then F1 should Charge the Indian Goverment or Pull Out

    1. Only party that makes money out of F1 is Bernie/Commercial rights holders.

      The tracks that run in losses by running F1 races per Bernie’s demands and eventually go their governments for bailout (using tax payers monies) are a good proof of that.

      If Government of India is not making any exceptions to F1 circus when it comes to taxes, customs and tariffs good for them, more and more Governments should take a leaf out of India’s book IMO

  21. I think having an Indian driver race at home would be terrific but only if it was a driver that was their because of talent rather than a PR exercise. It’ll be good to get some interest in the race and so I suppose it comes down to whether the ends justifies the means but it just doesn’t sit comfortably with me. I watch F1 to see the very best single seat racers fight out and I know with pay-drivers and the fact racing’s so hard to get into in the first place means the field is rather limited in a way but that’s no need to dilute it further. In a dream world India and countries without a strong racing background would get into the sport because they were inspired by what they saw but that’s unlikely so while I accept this is a good but cynical idea I don’t like it much.

  22. In principle F1 drivers should be picken on merit. However, it has long been practice that drivers that bring money or sponsorship, sometimes (often?) get picked over the ones that bring only their talent and effort.

    In a way, Karthikeyan and Chandhok bring much-needed publicity — and, albeit indirectly, money — from Indian companies and the general Indian public. So I don’t see any problem with teams running Indian drivers for the inaugural Indian Grand Prix.

  23. I voted no opinion.

    First because I don’t really care for the small teams.
    And second, because there as much as good reasons than bad ones to put these two drivers in a F1 race. Yes, it could attract more Indians to the track, and it could help F1 become more popular there but is it worth to see two Indians fighting for the 23rd position? Kartikheyan and Chandhok haven’t driven much this year, and are not really at ease in their cars : I don’t think they will shine, I think they’ll probably be bad if they get to drive in their home race. Another fact to take into account is that Chandhok and Kartikheyan aren’t young, and I don’t think they have a long future in F1 : driving at their home race could accelerate the end of their career, but it would be also a good place to end it.

    As I said, I don’t really care, the team bosses and the drivers surely know better than me what’s best for them :)

  24. Neither should get to race. Both are ridiculously useless. I mean Chandock makes Lotus keeping Trulli look like a coup. It’s just playing to the marketing people thinking that India are gonna shell out money and get excited about two substandard drivers.

  25. Let’s not forget that Ricciardo only got his seat because RBR is paying HRT to let him drive. So talented or not, he’s only racing right now because of money. If they let Karthikeyan do one more race because of money, what difference does it really make? I just hope that Riccardio can get a better seat next year.

  26. Chandhok has some possibilities to improve
    Karthekayen is a waste of time.

    The last thing a new-to-F1 country needs is a driver who is not going to do well at all.

  27. Who cares what the monkeys do! not me, if some crazy sponsor wants to give Chandok a drive good luck to them. Its kind of a non issue but to say you dont think so and so should get a drive becasue you dont like them is perhaps even more bonkers. Sport isnt a personality contest its a talent contest and perhaps a $$$$ (or should that be yen nowadays) contest. Ive never got this personality driven rating of drivers. They sit in a carbon fibre box with a helmet on. Everything that is important is done on the track. They may have a racing personality but whether they scowl or grin out of the car is no concern of mine and frankly you’re watching the wrong sport if you want well rounded team players.

  28. I voted neither.

    I think that this whole situation is ridiculous. People saying it will help raise the profile of F1 in India. If there isn’t an audience at present, Karun and Narin are hardly going to inspire a nation, the Goverment can’t even get behind the F1 race.

    I think the bigger question is why is F1 going to India in the first place.

  29. Makes no odds to anyone what-so-EVER!!

    Neither team are contending so its not as if it actually matters to the points standings etc…..
    Its a non-argument really.

    If it was a points scoring team then it would be a different story. I dont agree with running reserve drivers in first practice either as that in it’s self is a disadvantage for the drive who does not get out on track yadda yadda yadda.

  30. Neither driver should get to race.

    Hiring a pay driver for the whole season is one thing. For sure, pay drivers would not belong to F1 in a perfect world. But a full season in F1 at least gives the pay driver the chance to develop, improve his performance and become a half-decent driver. A single race does not give even that chance, it’s pure marketing that hasn’t much to do with sports anymore.

    Indians will probably be happy to see their contrymen on the grid but I’m not sure that this the right way to attract their attention if we think long-term. How will those new spectators feel two weeks later when they’ll turn on the TV to watch Abu Dhabi GP and will see nor Karthikeyan neither Chandhok there? They might be disappointed.

    Remember, it’s a poor country that’s new to F1. They probably don’t have much understanding of what F1 is about. A lot of Malaysian journalists and fans could not understand why Alex Yoong was not as quick as Michael Schumacher during early 2000s. Their knowledge of F1 has been improving since then but it’s a long process.

  31. jake butler aka dopey115
    14th September 2011, 13:02

    as far as im concerned, hispania and lotus can field who they like when they like-since the fia say each team must field 2 cars every race and use no more than 4 race drivers per season. Both could argue its a sponsorship commitment and dont see it as an issue, infact i support it. Both drivers could do with it and also gets india even more exited on formula 1. However, if it was to become a regular thing, where relative unknowns/drivers who dont usually race, are being put in their cars for their home grand prix, then the fia should maybe look into restricting unnessicary driver substitutions. Its a one-off, so let chandhok, kartikeyan enjoy the biggest event in their lives.

  32. Renault removed their more experienced regular driver for a less experienced one who also came with sponsorship.
    For these lower teams, it is no loss as it will have no effect on their championship standing.
    Trulli has had problems with the car all year long.
    HRT will always start at the back irrespective of who drives.
    It’s not even worth debating.

  33. F1 fans and F1 related blog sites (who claim to be F1 experts) can be so very hypocritical.

    Its not as if there are queue of talented drivers who can attract sponsors and fight for titles are fighting for race seats at HRT and Lotus.

    Its not as if there is long queue of drivers knocking at doors of HRT, that Narain’s drive at HRT is becoming a sore point in eyes of F1 fans.

    On contrary, a decent driver like Narain who had a good career in feeder formulae to F1, who is race winner in other racing series and who has good sponsor backing should be wasting his time (and monies of his sponsors) in low rung F1 team, when he can get paid for his driving services in other series (which he has demonstrated already).

    Between Narain and Karun, while Karun is just sweet talking media savvy PR bloke in F1 due to his connections, Narain has more valid claim to be in F1. Its just unfortunate that only opportunities that came his way were in bad team with bad cars, things that really didn’t do justice to his talent.

    If he is given better car and more mileage under his belt (which he didn’t have with HRT, given that the team was not even able to field a decent car in the season opener race), I really admire him and his sponsors for wasting their time and money on shabby F1 venture.

    1. I certainly don’t think one can blame either for taking the opportunity, even if I don’t think it will help further their career in F1. It might even work to get other interesting opportunities for all I know. This is more on whether it is a good thing for the teams and the sport.

  34. I’m thinking that having local drivers in the race may help boost its profile locally, but to really make F1 popular in a country you need a superstar. Look at Spain: there were Spanish F1 drivers before Fernando Alonso, but the sport only became popular there when he started doing well, and still there are large numbers of fans there who are only interested in what he does.

    On the other side, look at France, which has had many great drivers and world champions in the past, but the profile of F1 there has waned now that there are no French drivers and barely any involvement to speak of.

    Chandhok and Karthikeyan will no doubt encourage locals to take an interest, but F1’s long-term popularity in India (or in any given country for that matter) probably rests with someone who can run closer to the front.

  35. andrewdobbuk (@)
    14th September 2011, 13:09

    I’ve always got the impression that Karun is a huge brand in India for things like Road Safety*, but not been given the time in the car to show his raw pace. Remember Monaco last year, when before Trulli parked on him he was running the highest HRT had been all year.

    Karthikeyan on the other hand hasn’t really been seeing promoting the F1 brand*, so a swap for driver who is just in for his nationality and not brand exposure seems unfair.

    However, both may bring in extra local money and have huge PR gains for the teams, possibly bringing in more money in the future. I do think Karun has a solid future in F1 whereas Karthikeyan’s time is running out.

    It may be obvious but I’m a Karun and Team Lotus fan.

    *I do not live in India, nor have I visited, this is from my “online” view of whats been going on.

  36. While F1 is definitely a sport, it’s also a business (as us fans are frequently reminded when our interests are ignored). I don’t think a decision to run Karun or Narain would really undermine the view of F1 as a sport – the Indian government view is, as Keith pointed out, clearly spurious.

    If teams want to use different drivers to boost their sponsorship opportunities at the potential expense of their ability to score points, that’s a wager that only they can decide whether to take. If Lotus and HRT want to showcase Indian talent, they should be allowed to, and the sporting and financial consequences should be theirs alone.

    After all, Sunday’s 1st lap crash showed that even experienced regular drivers can cause major carnage!

  37. They’re both useless. I prefer Rubens Barrichello to continue for one more year at least. What the hell is going on with all these super-rich pilots from nowhere?

  38. I voted for them both to get a chance – personally I feel that Chandhok deserves a chance in place of Trulli (though I won’t be happy if they make Kovalainen give up his seat), and Karthikeyan may as well as there’s clearly money in it for HRT (not that I generally approve of pay drivers, but I don’t want to see HRT go under).

    As other posters have said as well, the fact that this is going on at back-marker teams makes me less bothered, as they’ve always been more prone to this kind of thing anyway.

    I do agree though that generally it’s not a good precedent to set and I wouldn’t want to see it become common practice to substitute a driver because of their nationality.

    Taking a pure flight of fancy, as I know it’ll never happen, but this is one of those situations where you could justify teams running a third car. Only let them do it once or twice a season, and don’t let everyone do it at the same race, but then teams could use that to try out a young driver, use a driver for PR (i.e. at their home race or even a “celebrity” driver, like Valentino Rossi or Sebastien Loeb), or get a bit of extra help towards the championship, without having to compromise their regular line-up.

    Of course I know there are loads of reasons why that couldn’t shouldn’t happen, but it’s just a thought!

  39. @Kieth – I pressed the wrong option by mistake… can it be reveresed ( Just Karthikeyan should get to race ). wanted to choose the option below pout pout :-(

    Forget about these drivers. Yes, I read the report yesterday about the Income Tax demand. It is atrocious. Demanding more than $400 million from the organizers puts the country to shame besides showcasing to the entire world a) how corrupted my country is b) enthusiasm the government shows towards the F1 sportatainment.. honestly they don’t care. I guess for them, Sebastian Vettel is no greater than a rookie cricketer from Punjab. Why would even Bernie take the word of Dr Vijay Mallya and prepare to go there? Vijay cares about his business and the reason he came to F1 is to grow his Airline and Alcohol business. ** agreed he wants to harness talent in Force India **

    There are millions of genuine F1 fans in India & it is unfortunate they are going to suffer for sure if the event doesn’t happen. Millions of $$$ were invested by the organizers to construct the circuit and to market. lots of ticket were sold.

    I remember when Yanni went to Perform in Taj Mahal, the corrupturs waited till the last moment to stage a protest and demand money and I heard Yanni paid them from his own pocket.

    Chandhok has some possibilities to improve
    Karthekayen is a waste of time.

    Agreed and accepted based on the current performance. They never had a decent outing in a decent car. IF you take Narain’s performance in 2005… he was constantly slower then Tiago… however he showed improvements towards the end of the season and his Chinese GP qualfying is a good example of how he can make use of the track condition. He did crash out of the race. Talent is there… but, they were never given the oppurtunity.

    1. If I read the article correctly, most of the money will be paid pack after F1 leaves the country. Minus a 2% (admin.fee?), and of course the interest on the loan for it.

      So it isn’t $400 million, but it is a bother and shabby, and not a very nice way to welcome a big sport (oh, event) into your country to return for the next 8 years.

      1. In the end it seems Yajpee have now agreed on a tax exemption and have stated to cover the bill in case that tax exemption does not work out.

  40. I voted NEITHER DRIVER SHOULD RACE

    I do not believe that Karthikeyan is as fast as Luizzi (This is from what I saw from the start of the season)and Ricciardo looks to be out performing Luizzi very soon.

    I also think that Kovalinen has driven well all year and does not deserve to be dropped. If the race was earlier in the year I would have given Chandhok ago as Trulli never seemed comfortable. However now he has sorted out his “Steering Wheel” he has looked a lot better so it would be the wrong time to take him out of the car.

    If the 2 Indian drivers have not made it in to the cars then I think a lot of Public Appearences around the track all weekend would be a good idea.

    It will be interesting if either them get a practice session as the track is unknown.

  41. After mulling this over all morning, I still can’t decide what I think. There are really good points being made on both sides. I’m glad neither team is going to rely on me to make this decision! ;-)

  42. I voted just Chandhok. What’s the point of having a driver who is most likely not going to give the Indians to cheer about? I have a feeling most of the Indian population would we cheering on a promising driver like Chandhok rather than ‘tried that and failed’ driver in Karthikeyan.

    1. Being from India, I can bet Karthikeyan is admired much more than Chandhok..

      NK is a better driver although not the best in the world but good enough..

      KC really left a lot to be desired in the one off race he got..

      but i would love to see them both race..

      1. KC really left a lot to be desired in the one off race he got..

        But I’ve never driven for… Oh. Never mind.

  43. In American Football, Basketball, and Baseball, teams will bring on a player for post season only or to fill a slot on a roster where another player was underperforming or injured. The thing is, those teams get ticket money at every home game they play and, if you don’t count player salaries, don’t have the costs of an F1 team. Once upon a time, all of these sports would gladly accept “pay players” to meet the bottom line. This is really no different as it is just backmarkers playing musical drivers to meet their bottom line. Frankly, that extra money may make the team more competitive as, if used properly, will speed up development within the smaller team.

  44. How I hate the “it’s not an sport” argument!!!!!

    I think it’s up to the team to decide who races and who doesn’t. And it’s also very nice that a local driver participates in the race. Many great drivers started their careers racing in their country first, renting a car or just getting a ride (until the 80s). Or sometimes locals get to drive during practice (remember Kobayashi at Japan 09?).

    So all in all, I’m not too concerned about it.

    1. He only got a go becuase Glock was ill.

  45. Maybe this is the best case for a third-team-car. In IndyCar, teams occaisionally run an extra car if there is sponsorhip money of if it’s a big race. So if you are going to India or some other marginal market, and you want to add a national driver to draw the crowd, put him in a third car.

    In the end, it should be purely the individual team’s decision.

    As far as the “against” point, I’m not sure what the Indian goverment’s application of its customs rules have to do with the polled question. It’s not like F1 can hold it over the Indian goverment’s head that they won’t run an Indian driver if they don’t relent on the duties.

    However, the interchangeability point is an important insight. The main asterisk over F1’s sports status is the effect of direct, ad hoc payments to teams to seat a driver. But, on the separate issue of the duties, this is an argument in favor of the Indian Customs officials, isn’t it?

  46. I think it’s a nice idea to generate local interest for the first Indian GP. It’s not like they’re taking up spots in front-running cars anyway. If the grid was based solely on talent, more than half of the current drivers wouldn’t be there!

  47. I have alot of respect for Chandhok, he is a brilliant personality and knows alot about F1, but as a driver he is just not good enough. Kathekeyan is a just a joke.

  48. What does it really matter? It has nothing to do with whether either of them are any good or not. It is all about bringing fans to the event and the sum of that action equals revenue and will promote more revenue in the future as attendance, advertising, and interest worldwide increases.

    Nothings new here.It’s the “local boy” in your countries F1 race syndrome.

    Someday there might even be a Grand Prix on Baffin Island if a good enough Eskimo can get on with it.

  49. I voted both as a no. Both have had a chance to show there talent and both have proved they dont hold a candle against there team mates. Would rather they give drivers who have not had a chance a go.

    Having said this Chandhok is a good guy who has only had 1 race in the best of the worst cars so wouldnt grudge him but Karthikeyan has had a season and a half of F1 and is the worst driver to do a F1 race has seen since Yuji Ide

  50. I feel they should race (given the teams give them the opportunity).
    The teams are not exactly fighting for the top spot. So why not give the drivers the chance to show what they can do, in front of their home crowd.

    1. No my friend if you look at the diverse views of knowledgeable fans on this site, its a do or die situation for Lotus and HRT and they are fighting here for top spots on constructors points with Vettel, Alonso, Hamilton and Webber driving those cars :)

  51. If it is only to promote the race I would almost agree, if the race desperately needed to be promoted. But India isn’t the situation that Turkey or China is.
    Furthermore I don’t see the point promoting F1 there if the government doesn’t even recognise it as a sport (based on the customs duty controversy).

  52. Voted no opinion, it’s up to the teams who they put in their cars at the end of the day. Back in the old days they would have just run an extra car, but cant do that any more.

  53. Im Indian and have been watching F1 broadcasts from 1993 onward on Star Sports. I hope to watch my 1st F1 race in October at New Delhi.

    It does not matter to me whether Karthikeyan will be driving in this race or not.

    I hope Chandhok gets to drive in the race – dont think it will make much of a difference to Team Lotus as to who is their 2nd driver in the race.

    1. @Dumb_Man – Thats a nice handle you have, and I am impressed with your understanding of F1 that you have acquired for about 18 years and in light of that your understanding of who deserves for chance in F1 between Chandok and Narain.

      Well done to you :)

  54. As an American, I very much want to see an American driver in our home grand prix. I wouldn’t care if he was at the back of the pack. It’s something a bit special to be able to cheer on someone who represents your home country in what’s considered a global sport. I say let them both drive. Neither is displacing someone fighting for the championship. Keep in mind that this isn’t simply about the politics, but giving people something to invest in on a deeper emotional level. When someone from your country wins or does well, don’t you feel a sense of national pride? Similarly, simply reaching F1 is an accomplishment, so I can understand their desire to let them drive. Make the people happy, brighten their spirits!

  55. I recognise there may be an interest to have the country’s own drivers race in the local grand prix, but especially when the situation seems that way that for whatever reason, the teams don’t think the driver warrants having him in the cockpit for the rest of the season as well, the motorcycle championship practice of allowing “wildcard” drivers to compete in additional vehicles would be a way I would prefer it to be handled, rather than having an established and/or more experienced driver slotted out for a single race.

  56. HounslowBusGarage
    14th September 2011, 21:22

    “Should”?
    Not sure if I accept the idea that anyone ‘should’ be driving.
    It would be a great bonus to motorsport in India in general if either of these drivers raced in their home grand prix. But ‘should’?

  57. Pshh… So should Ho Ping Tung (Renault test driver) race in the Chinese Grand Prix?

    1. and honestly letting the Indian pair race is just to attract more Indian sponsorships for the teams. In terms of race “excitement” or anything, I don’t think they’d add or subtract anything, so… honestly I don’t really care. But if the extra money’d help them develop. Why not?!

    2. I think there would be nothing against Renault either running him for FP1 or even getting a Renault engined, back of grid team to run him for the race.

      Look at what Kobayashi showed us once he got just such a chance to hop in for Glock in 2009!
      He wasn’t anything special judging from GP2, but there are not many people who now doubt ist great to have him here. Bruno Senna also suprised many when he got into the Renault at Spa.
      Same might happen for either of these guys.

  58. Hispania needs money in order to be able to keep racing, so if Narain brings more money than Daniel (or Tonio) for the Indian Grand Prix, it would be difficult to object. Yes, having the best driver possible is nice, but not only is there room for debate over whether Narain is the worst of the three (the Hispania is so slow that I’d argue we’ve not seen the best of any of them this year), but there is the point that a driver can’t do a whole lot in F1 without a decent car. For Hispania it could well be a case of (possibly) losing time now to get it back with interest later.

    I’m somewhat more sceptical in the case of Chandhok, primarily because Lotus doesn’t need the money (much as it may like it). If Kovalainen might not be driving for Lotus in 2012, there would be an argument for Karun replacing him for this race to get experience ready for next year, but otherwise a FP1 substitution (in place of whoever’s turn it was this time) would be more appropriate.

  59. Keith? How about you just throw all the names of available drivers in a pool on this web-site and set it up so the ones with the most votes get the rides?
    Charge 5 quid to vote and all the money goes to the two winning teams. Or donate it to the Nick Heidfeld memorial “dumb ass” fund.

  60. This is F1, we want the best driver’s out there, not driver’s picked on their nationality. Narain is to slow and Karun has had an outing in the Lotus already this year and it looked like he was in a safari race as he spent more time off track than on it.

    There are numerous driver’s deserving a chance more so than Narain and Karun.

    Grosjean
    Vergne
    Bottas
    Wickens
    Bortolotti

    Just to name a few

    1. Fair point. But the best drivers don’t always help pay the bills.

  61. Nope because they’re not good enough. Yes because they’re Indians.
    Can you Imagine how pissed Vicky will be.

    Anyways they’re solving the tax problem. Welcome to the India.

  62. Though I think neither driver should get the drive but I guess for the marketing purpose they will get it.

  63. James Williams
    15th September 2011, 8:31

    How can the Indian Government classing F1 as entertainment be any reason against the two drivers being there? They aren’t related at all!

    1. I think you can make that case, as I explained in the article. Why do you disagree?

  64. Better Idea: Drop Liuzzi for Karthikeyan.

  65. As per usual F1 has decided they can artificially adapt their sport by pandering to the needs of fans. This is not WWF, it’s supposed to be a sport and not as suggested by the Indian government mere entertainment.
    My vote is Neither..

    Give this sport some credibility and if an Indian F1 driver deserves a seat at the Indian GP then he should get it.

  66. I don’t think it really matters.

    I mean, who are they really hurting? Ricciardo has done a good job considering the car he’s in, and he’s not the original second driver in the team.

    And also considering this is the inaugural race in India it will hopefully provide more interest to help sustain the obvious developing market for motor racing in India.

    Plus Narain drove the first half of the season anyway. Good on them if they get to drive for their country at it’s first race.

  67. I don’t have any problem with them racing. Ultimately F1 is a sport and sport implies entertainment, at least for the fans. If the teams are happy to run the risk let them do so, they’re the ones who will have to rue the mistake if it bites them on the backside. I don’t think teams should make a habit of it, I think an inaugural race is about the limit of what they should be seen to be getting away with.

  68. Taking the question as a more general “Should teams change drivers to make F1 more popular at a venue?”, I had to vote Neither.

    The simple fact is that, if they are good enough, they will get a regular seat at a team. If they are not, they will not.

    If teams start swapping drivers around just to get local interest, it stops being the pinnacle of motorsport it has always claimed to be. Drivers should get their seats on merit, no more.

    I am not saying the 2 drivers in question aren’t good enough (I don’t know too much about them, to be honest), but giving them a race just because it is their home GP is ludicrous! This is a sport, not a TV talent show, and popularity should not influence driver choice. It should be determined by the driver’s abilities alone. End of.

  69. Chandhok is worse than Narain so don’t know why he has got so many more votes. Either way I hope neither race as it is frankly amateur to see teams replace a driver for one race only. That is one thing that should be kept to the 60-80s when it was commonplace, like the early days of Frank Williams’ team.

  70. I think this all the beginning of a slippery slope: F1’s moving further and further away from a sport and is becoming more and more money-driven. Also, I don’t like the precedent here, what happens when teams start putting in drivers from host countries who don’t have the ability to be even close to satisfactory.

    1. We go back to the 1970s and 1980s where backmarker teams did precisely that on a fairly regular basis.

  71. themagicofspeed (@)
    19th September 2011, 22:47

    Simply no to both of them. They’ve both had race drives before and neither of them set their seat on fire nevermind the world.

  72. Look guys, F1 is being as an entertainment due to large amounts of corporate money being poured into the race and very high ticket prices which are out of reach of common f1 fanatics like me……..Govt did the same thing to the Indian Premier League which is the world’s richest cricket tournament…..It would be wrong to say that the our Govt is wrong, but they aren’t entirely correct too

  73. correction…previous post: *being considered as an entertainment by the govt

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