Chandhok will not race in Indian Grand Prix

2011 Indian Grand Prix

Karun Chandhok, Lotus, Nurburgring, 2011

Chandhok raced for Lotus at the Nurburgring

Karun Chandhok will not race in the Indian Grand Prix, Lotus have confirmed.

The Indian driver will participate in the first practice session of the race weekend.

Chandhok said: “I am very excited about driving at the new Buddh International Circuit in first practice in front of my home crowd and while I am obviously disappointed that I won?t have the chance to race on Sunday, I accept the team?s decision to opt for the experience and talent they have at their disposal with Jarno [Trulli] and Heikki [Kovalainen].

“This is a team that is still young, still growing, and I know that they have to do their best to secure their future in the sport ?ǣ sometimes the hard decisions have to be made, and in this case it must have been a very difficult choice, but I understand that this isn?t about me.

“It?s about the team and everything the 254 people on track and back at the factory are doing to build for the future. For me, I believe that I have grown as a driver in and out of the car this year with my role in the Friday practice sessions and I?m looking forward to playing my part in helping the team have another strong weekend on track.”

Team principal Tony Fernandes said: “From the team perspective the key goal for us this weekend is to maintain the performance levels we saw in the last two races and while I am sure there will be fans in India who want to see Karun race for us on Sunday we had to make the best decision for the future of the team.

“While all the emotional reasons for him driving were right we were conscious that the limited running he has had in the car this season, largely due to the weather conditions that have hit most of his first practice sessions, has not given him the best preparation for this race, so we have taken the very difficult decision not to run him in the race this weekend.

“It is absolutely vital that we secure tenth place in 2011 to give us the platform to keep growing and despite the fact that Karun’s performance levels have continued to improve every time he has driven for us in 2011, it was considered too much pressure to put on Karun to drive in his first home race, deal with all the attention he would have had and be able to perform at the same level as either of our regular race drivers over the whole weekend.

“For that reason we had to take the pragmatic decision to put our faith in the experience and pace we have in Jarno and Heikki, and are confident they will continue to perform at the level they have over the last two years with us.

“While this is obviously not the decision Karun wanted us to take he understands that we have to take the long-term view and do so in the best interests of the team. He also understands that his relationship with our team is not about just one race, it is about growing together and while this is an historic event, there will be many opportunities to race in India in the future, and he is in the best possible place with us to take advantage of those chances in seasons to come.”

Chandhok has raced for the team once this year, in the German Grand Prix.

HRT have already confirmed Narain Karthikeyan will compete in the race, taking Vitantonio Liuzzi’s place in the team.

2011 Indian Grand Prix

Browse all 2011 Indian Grand Prix articles

Advert | Go Ad-free

151 comments on Chandhok will not race in Indian Grand Prix

1 2 3 4
  1. Sebring Mike (@sebring-mike) said on 25th October 2011, 10:02

    Have to say I would have put Chandhok in the car. Its not as if Trulli is going to set the track or the spectators on fire on Sunday.

  2. KateM (@katem) said on 25th October 2011, 10:05

    Chandhok is at best a mediocre driver, and combine that with the lack of seat time he’s had this season and there is no way he would have done better than Trulli. I actually admire Lotus for prioritizing results over PR. Being Indian and a nice bloke is not a particularly convincing argument for deserving a drive in my book.

    • Scribe (@scribe) said on 25th October 2011, 10:17

      Mostly I agree, but tbh, the respect Lotus wins for making a serious racing decision, will be match’d by a financial choice. If putting Chandok in the car would have made them lots of money, it’s obvious what they would have done.

      Possibly they’ve done this because they would have had to swap Kovalinen out, it being his turn contractually or something. Kovy is obviously their lead driver and they’ll do nothing that might upsett one of their most valuable assets.

    • Ned Flanders (@ned-flanders) said on 25th October 2011, 10:21

      If we’re going to give F1 drives to the world’s nicest people, I can think of a fair few candidates from around the world who are much more deserving than Chandok. And they probably wouldn’t be any slower either!

  3. Slr (@slr) said on 25th October 2011, 10:08

    I’m sure that Chandhok is very dissapointed, however he has responded in a very mature fashion. If I was Chandhok, I would pulling my hair out, not just because I would be missing my home race, but also because I would experienced such a difficult career so far in Formula One. But despite all of his difficulties, Chandhok keeps his head high and gets on with his life and career, and I salute him for that.

    • snowman (@snowman) said on 25th October 2011, 10:32

      Agree and it’s not just because it is his home race but he has been so involved in the project and his father being one of the main ones behind it. Still think it is the right decision though.

      Maybe some Indians will kidnap Jarno over the weekend!

  4. Dan Thorn (@dan-thorn) said on 25th October 2011, 10:08

    Good. He shouldn’t drive in the Indian Grand Prix simply because he’s Indian. I know Karthikeyan is, but HRT don’t exactly have secure finances so I can forgive them for that.

    There’s a possibility of this weekend being an attritional race, and an experienced driver like Trulli is going to be more likely to bring the car home than Chandhok is. For Lotus, that could mean a 12th or a 13th places, which for them is critical.

    • Ned Flanders (@ned-flanders) said on 25th October 2011, 10:23

      There’s a possibility of this weekend being an attritional race

      What makes you say that Dan? I’m assuming it’s going to be the usual 2 or 3 retirements… it’s not like there’ll be any rain to catch people out!

    • javlinsharp (@javlinsharp) said on 25th October 2011, 16:11

      @Dan Thorn
      Just commenting on

      He shouldn’t drive in the Indian Grand Prix simply because he’s Indian.

      I respectfully request you to cease this kind of discussion as I desperatly hope for the behavior to become a trend.

      I wish for nothing more than to see Lewis Hamilton sidelined for some Nascar idiot in next year’s US GP.

      Maybe they could dig up Mario Andretti, Im sure the old fossil could show these whippersnappers a thing or two.

      RIP Marco S.

    • Exactly.

      What about all the Finnish drivers who never got to race in a home grand prix? Where were all the Bahrani drivers when F1 turned up there in 2006? Teams don’t have to field an Indian driver just because their tenure in F1 happens to coincide with the first ever Indian Grand Prix. None of the Lotus drivers will score points this weekend,so it doesnt really matter who is in the car, but better a driver with years of experience who can help set the car up for the weekend. Even if he did clock out years ago and spends his time in the cockpit daydreaming about crushing grapes with his wife, barefoot on a sunny Italian hillside.

  5. BasCB (@bascb) said on 25th October 2011, 10:09

    I must say, this is a great desicion from Team Lotus. Shows they are serious about F1. Giving Chandhok a FP1 outing for PR is a great move, having him in for the race would feel like him buying a drive, as no one can honestly say he would be in there by merit.
    Maybe he had to little time in the car to do so, and he does show promise from some of his outings for HRT. But just look at how sceptical we all (or most of us) were about Ricciardo getting in mid season, or even closer parallel, Senna getting in.

    I did expect it, a bit. Why else would they pull out the desicion to this late before the race. And indeed Fernandes telling the world how he would personally like Chandhok to be in the car, but the team would decide on merit could be understood to be a pre emptive excuse.

  6. dam00r (@dam00r) said on 25th October 2011, 10:12

    I’d imagine it’s because they want that first championship point this year

    • Huron (@huron) said on 25th October 2011, 10:46

      Or because they don’t want to risk Virgin or HRT snagging a lucky 11th or 12th place if the race gets crazy. Last time he raced, Chandhok was dead last and got lapped by his teammate.

    • SteveHo said on 25th October 2011, 17:36

      Actually, it does matter a lot where they finish, even if it is out of the points. My understanding is that the top ten teams get money at the end of the season; eleventh place could be a big hit in the wallet.

      • Pink Peril (@pink-peril) said on 26th October 2011, 11:20

        Exactly. Its the revenue from the points that counts at the end of the day. My understanding is that teams get little or no money directly from actual ticket sales at the venue, so putting Chandhok in as a PR stunt to increase seats is of little probabtive value. And surely sponsorship is a season committment, not just borne from one race. Whereas when the revenue is divvied up at the end of the season based on where you ended up on the ladder, that is where it matters to come 10th instead of 11th. Whilst it would have been ‘nice’ to have Chandhok in the race, F1 is about money, not being nice.

  7. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 25th October 2011, 10:13

    Though I consider Chandhok more worthy of a drive than Karthikeyan, Lotus have done the right thing here.

    This is supposed to be the pinnacle of motor racing – building the best cars and putting the best drivers in them. Not faffing around with your driver line-up to pander to local interest.

    If Chandhok’s good enough for a seat in F1, he should be in the car from the beginning of the season. If Trulli (or whoever) is not doing good enough, he should be dropped and replaced by someone else (such as Chandhok).

    But sticking a local driver in the race as a one-off would do no good for Lotus or Chandhok, as his previous outing at the Nurburgring surely demonstrated.

    Chandhok is a PR dream for the race promoters – he’s a thoroughly nice bloke and a terrific ambassador for the sport with great respect for its history. But talent should come first, and if Lotus believe their regular driver line-up is superior then I can’t take issue with that.

    And I must admit, I find the idea that the crowd absolutely has to have a local driver to take an interest a bit patronising.

    • Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 25th October 2011, 10:17

      I just completely deleted my own comment I was writing, because you’ve said exactly what I think in a much better way than I was trying to!

    • Girts (@girts) said on 25th October 2011, 10:17

      Agreed.

      I don’t know what the reasons behind this decision were but I think it’s the right decision. Cynics will probably say that Chandhok’s sponsors weren’t ready to pay the amount of money that Lotus requested for the ‘deal’. I hope that’s not the case and that it was the common sense that prevailed. A serious midfield team that Lotus is trying to become should not sell one-off drives. I hope that we will see a competitive Indian driver on the grid in a couple of years but Chandhok does not belong to the grid at the moment imho.

    • Ned Flanders (@ned-flanders) said on 25th October 2011, 10:19

      Well said. I’d put it much more brutally: he’s rubbish

      • Slr (@slr) said on 25th October 2011, 10:30

        I think to write him off as rubbish is a very harsh, Chandhok has had a brutal introduction to Formula One, he has not had a real chance to improve, or show if he is better than he seems to be.

        • Ned Flanders (@ned-flanders) said on 25th October 2011, 10:55

          A bit harsh, perhaps, but by F1 standards I just don’t think he’s anywhere near good enough, and I’d argue if it wasn’t for his nationality he’d be nowhere near F1

          • Scribe (@scribe) said on 25th October 2011, 12:03

            Not sure, tbh, reckon he’s as good as a few of the drivers on the grid. Not star quality but highly compatant in the worst car on the grid for years last season.

    • cduk_mugello (@cduk_mugello) said on 25th October 2011, 10:20

      Whilst I in part agree with you, if Britain didn’t have a driver in F1, I doubt Silverstone would sell out in the manner it has done these past years.

      Having a local driver would definitely have some affect on ticket sales.

      • Girts (@girts) said on 25th October 2011, 10:50

        I believe you are right about the importance of having a local driver. Nationality of drivers isn’t important for me and, most probably, a lot of other F1Fs don’t care about that aspect, too. Then again, a local driver could attract thousands of other people who want to see their countrymen on the grid.

        But I think there are two even more important things. Firstly, I don’t think a local driver who races at the back of the pack can attract a lot of additional spectators. For instance, Pedro de la Rosa and Marc Gene didn’t increase the popularity of F1 in Spain a lot, only Fernando Alonso did. Secondly, it is very important to explain the Indians what F1 is about, improve their understanding of the sport, the rules etc.

      • TimG (@timg) said on 25th October 2011, 13:13

        Whilst I in part agree with you, if Britain didn’t have a driver in F1, I doubt Silverstone would sell out in the manner it has done these past years.

        It’s an interesting point, but F1 and the British GP are both well established in the UK. Whereas India is hosting its first ever GP without a solid history of Indian participation and success in F1.

        I suspect the British GP would have sold out with or without a British driver, albeit perhaps not as quickly. As an event, the British GP is up there with Wimbledon and other major sporting events that attract large numbers of casual sports fans as well as fanatics. But it’s impossible to know for sure. Apart from anything else, as far as I can see, there has never been a British GP (counting for the WDC) without a British driver on the grid (mostly competitive drivers too).

        I can understand why the organisers might want a home driver on the grid, but I don’t think it adds much (if at all) for the international audience. Chandhok seems like a nice guy, but that’s not enough.

    • TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 25th October 2011, 10:26

      Completely agree. Can’t have double-standards and say Karthikeyan shouldn’t get to drive but Chandhok should.

      I think Chandhok’s personality is clouding peoples judgement.

    • snowman (@snowman) said on 25th October 2011, 10:27

      Completely agree, feel bad for Chandhok because he is probably the most likeable of all the drivers. But for anyone who thinks its unfair look at his practice times in the practice sessions he has done and his race in Germany and even for someone who has no time in the car it doesn’t inspire confidence.

    • Hamish (@hamish) said on 25th October 2011, 11:17

      Valid, but why stop there.

      Pinnacle of motorsport yes, but yet at least 8 drivers of the starting grid bought funds in to assist with them ascertaining a race seat. If its the pinnacle of the sport the human capability should be what gets them the drive – and lets be honest, the latter has been compromised a lot recently for the sake of the former. Its the pinnacle of motorsport, it cannot be if not everyone has arrived there on merit.

      Yes historically it has occurred, Lauda and Senna being good examples, but more often than not is miss more than hit.

      I know this is a topic everyone has an opinion on, but theres no way the terms “pinnacle” and “sport” can be used when your sponsor revenue is more of a factor than your skill in determining whether you’ll be on the grid.

      Good call by Lotus.

      • On Contrary said on 25th October 2011, 12:52

        You have nailed it mate. Whoever use “F1 as pinnacle” are kidding themselves.

        Every driver out there is pay driver of sorts, and all decisions are taken with monies in mind.

        I am sure if those sponsors who have been backing Narain for his career had thrown in a couple of million dollars to Tony Fernandes and reimbursed him, he would have happily offered race weekend to Karun.

        Those on this forum who have been claiming Karun deserves more to be in F1 than Narain are again showing their lack of understanding of F1 and motorsports.

        While both are not championship material, if given decent car and decent mileage can perform to the potential of the car in F1, which is what happens in F1, no races and championships are won in middle/back of grid car in F1.

        • AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 25th October 2011, 13:47

          I do think F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport, and I don’t agree with the distinction you make between merit and sponsored drivers. It’s not like the junior categories constitute a system in which the best drivers qualify for the right to compete in F1. Throughout his (or her) career, a racing driver must put together deals to get the right drives; if anything, there is a positive correlation between talent and getting sponsorship for those drives.

          Also, I think the current F1 grid is made up of very strong drivers, all of which I would expect to comfortably outperform Chandok over a season. What’s more, many more exciting drivers (by which I mean that for the potential they have shown, they might someday be F1 race winners) are coming up from the junior categories. I would therefore not be sad if I didn’t see Chandok in an F1 race anymore.

    • SVettel (@) said on 25th October 2011, 13:04

      Team Lotus don’t need to put an Indian in theirt car to increase local interest; there’s alreay Force India, and I thought the only reason Chandhok got to drive at germany was because Trulli hated his power steering,a nd wasn’t gonna get a result out of it, so they gave Chandhok more track time

      • NomadIndian (@nomadindian) said on 25th October 2011, 19:02

        Totally agree. Force India being there is more than enough to genrate the local interest. Except a few loyal followers, very few would be there to watch Narain as opposed to watch Vijay Mallya’s Force INDIA team.

    • Racing Galore said on 25th October 2011, 14:06

      “Though I consider Chandhok more worthy of a drive than Karthikeyan”

      On what basis do you say so? Karthikeyan has proved time and again, from his British F3 days to World Series and even NASCAR. This season he has managed to outpace RedBull ‘superstar’ Ricciardo on many occasions during his FP1 outings, with both on the same program.

      He lacks Chandhok’s PR skills and a daddy like Chandhok Sr. – both sweet-talkers. Karun’s German race performance was shameful, at his best he was still a second off Kovalainen times stint for stint. He doesn’t deserve a chance in F1 just because he can talk.

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 25th October 2011, 14:27

        Karthikeyan has proved time and again, from his British F3 days

        When he didn’t win a single race in three years. Ricciardo did one season and won the championship.

        to World Series

        Two race wins in three years, while Ricciardo was runner-up by two points to a four-year championship veteran in his first season.

        and even NASCAR.

        By which you mean the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, several tiers below the Sprint Cup. In which he is yet to manage a top ten finish.

        This season he has managed to outpace RedBull ‘superstar’ Ricciardo on many occasions during his FP1 outings, with both on the same program.

        I’d like to see your source for that last bit.

        You can draw all the meaningless conclusions from practice sessions you like. What matters is where the cars finish in the races. HRT’s closest rivals are Virgin and both Ricciardo and Liuzzi have managed to beat one of their cars twice this year – Karthikeyan hasn’t.

        • Racing Galore said on 25th October 2011, 20:49

          He did win races in 98 and 99, won the Korea Super Prix after getting pole in 2000, and won the International F3 at Spa in the same year and crashed out of the Macau F3 race after leading from pole.

          During his Jordan days his inexperience led him to overdrive the car on occasions and the Jordan’s pitch sensitivity wasn’t favourable to his ‘tug’ style. He was extremely good in the wet though, but didn’t stay long enough in F1 to build on his experience.

          As for FP1 outings, you need to look at his times – in Singapore he was quicker until the final lap, where there was in fact some traffic ahead, and Ricciardo managed to eclipse him by half a tenth. In Japan, he was quicker than him in sector one but lack of running on quick tracks had taken a toll on his neck which became the limiting factor in putting the sectors together.
          In Korea he was clearly quicker in the wet again.

          Contrast his achievements with Chandhok, who never won a single race in his British F3 days and even anywhere else outside Asia, apart from the doctored GP2 reverse grid wins.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 25th October 2011, 20:56

            You do realise teams don’t send their drivers out in practice sessions with identical set-ups on to see which driver is faster? They use them to evaluate different set-ups and parts to figure out how to make the car faster. Hence “meaningless comparisons”.

            (And I never said he didn’t win in other F3 categories – you were the one who specified ‘British F3′).

          • Racing Galore said on 25th October 2011, 21:12

            When I said wins in 98 and 99, I meant he won races in British F3 main championship.

            And as for the meaningless comparisons you’re talking about, you need to sit in the pits and talk to the engineers to figure out what’s happening. FP1 leans towards a qualifying simulation on the prime tyre, there isn’t a lot of part swapping going on unless you’re a front running team and testing different aero parts with flow-viz.

            Anyway, that is the last thing I have to say on the topic. My only point is, Karun’s enthusiast- demeanour has managed to eclipse Karthikeyan’s real achievements. Both aren’t title-winning material, but if one of them deserves a drive in F1, its the latter.

    • Millsique (@millsique) said on 25th October 2011, 14:46

      If drives were handed out on the basis of being a nice guy I am sure Anthony Davidson would be an F1 Veteran by now. Team Lotus have definately one the right thing.

      Also, Tony Fernandes has since reminded people via Twitter that the team got thei best ever result last time out. If they want to do their best to confirm 10th place then they are doing the right thing.

      For the record I like Chandhok, Its refreshing to see a driver who cares for the sports history.

    • In the old days, Chandhok would have brought his own car and entered this Grand Prix as a one-off. The history books are littered with races with more-than average participants, the extras being single-car entries from local drivers.

      Kind of a shame you can’t just do any more.

    • sid_prasher (@) said on 27th October 2011, 21:02

      A lot of people do respect the fact that both Karun and Narain made it to the F1 league but they also know that both are not as good as most of the other drivers on the track right now…and its a fair call to not give them a drive. Narain strangely enjoys a lot of corporate backing – hence he has got a chance at HRT.

  8. Rhys Coles (@lightmas) said on 25th October 2011, 10:16

    I agree :)

    P.S “This is supposed to be the pinnacle of motor racing – building the best cars….”

    Which is why the 107% rule is correct for F1.

    http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2010/03/19/why-f1-doesnt-need-the-107-rule/comment-page-5/#comment-860647

    :)

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 25th October 2011, 10:22

      @lightmas That’s a whole different kettle of fish – it would also justify a 100.1% rule…

      • Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 25th October 2011, 10:29

        @KeithCollantine I suppose the argument can be made that if Le Mans style endurance racing can manage with entirely different classes of car racing on the same track with far more dramatic variation in speed, Formula 1 should be able to cope with backmarkers even if they are more than 7% slower than the pace.

        However, I do agree with a 107% rules for situations like we had in Melbourne with HRT – being as woefully unprepared as that really does have no place in Formula 1. I’d rather teams be able to operate competently or not at all.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 25th October 2011, 10:34

          But wouldn’t it then be better to just let them prove they can field a halfway competative car up front, and not wait until the actual race season to start and having shipped all equipment out to Australia?

          I think the 107% rule as its now is just like politicians vying to act on crime. Windowdressing.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 25th October 2011, 10:24

      @lightmas – it’s good in theory, but poor in execution. We’ve seen plenty of occasions where drivers have been outside the 107% margin, but they have been permitted to race anyway. I understand that it’s designed to keep slow teams, rather than slow drivers, off the grid, but the selective application of the rule makes a farce of it.

  9. Chalky (@chalky) said on 25th October 2011, 10:19

    As much as I like Chandhok, if I was the boss at Team Lotus I too would have made this decision.
    It’s not points that Lotus may get but as I have learned last year, teams fight for best finishing spot.
    I’m assuming they can get more of a return from finishing above Virgin / HRT in the season rather than running a local driver in a GP.

    • On Contrary said on 25th October 2011, 12:56

      And if Karun or his sponsors would have compensated appropriately, I would have let him race for the weekend. Afterall given the current form of my car, winning the prize money is a remote possibility, so if I get that much money through a different source, why not :)

  10. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 25th October 2011, 10:21

    I’m disappointed for Karun – I think he’s a far better ambassador for the sport than Karthikeyan – but I’ve long believed that picking drivers for a race because of their nationality rather than their talent is a mistake.

  11. gabal (@gabal) said on 25th October 2011, 10:22

    When you take a look at the big picture it is a right decision. Keeping the 10th spot in WCC and prize money that comes with it is worth more then some PR or one-race sponsorship deal.

  12. Chandhok’s done a wonderful PR job to convince people he might deserve an F1 seat but sadly he’s just not very good. There’s a full grid’s worth of drivers in the junior formulas I’d want in my car before him (all things being equal in terms of money).

  13. MattB (@mattb) said on 25th October 2011, 10:34

    Why Chandhok isn’t racing this time: at the German GP, he spun twice in front of me, the only driver of the weekend to do so at that spot. This was missed by all of the TV/FOM feeds, but I guarantee he did.

    Nice guy though.

  14. JPedroCQF1 (@joao-pedro-cq) said on 25th October 2011, 10:35

    I like this decision from TL. I never liked the ideia of drivers buying a seat in F1, but that’s the reality now and I guess I have to get used to it. But I think Karun would never succeed if he drove the whole weekend. Firstly, he has had very little running this year in the car. And, if that is a problem, the pressure of delivering a good result would only add up to it. And TL was of course thinking in the championship when they made the decision. They want to get closer to getting a point if some cars from the midfield get out of the race.

  15. Silverkeg (@silverkeg) said on 25th October 2011, 10:40

    I am very glad Team Lotus made this decision, I feel it shows that they are dedicated to succeeding in the sport and want to continue to improve.
    Chandhok is a great guy, as shown by his handling of the news, and he is very talented but I don’t believe he has quite what it takes to make it in formula one given full preparation let alone standing in for one race with just a few peacticew sessions in the car.
    I do not believe watching a driver underperform in a car is inspirational just because he is of your nationality.
    oh, and I wish the best of luck to Force India at this Grand Prix

1 2 3 4

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.