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.

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151 comments on Chandhok will not race in Indian Grand Prix

  1. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 25th October 2011, 10:41

    Interesting to note the difference in views between the comments posted here so far, which largely support Lotus’s decision, and the reaction from journalists on Twitter, who have been more critical of the team and sympathetic towards Chandhok:

    “Karun Chandhok not the only one disappointed that he won’t race on Sunday. Shame. Would have been good to have two Indian drivers starting.”
    Alan Baldwin –!/alanbaldwinf1/statuses/128754539565301760

    “PR suicide for Team Lotus in not giving Karun Chandhok a drive in his home GP. A baffling decision.”
    Stuart Codling –!/teamSCboard/statuses/128756493074968576

    “Hard luck for super-friendly Karun Chandhok who loses out on a Team Lotus race drive but who will drive in P1.”
    Sarah Holt –!/sarahholtf1/statuses/128757581220024320

    “Bad luck old chap. Daft decision.”
    Kevin Eason (to Karun Chandhok) –!/easonF1/statuses/128760271761195008

    • Evidently they know where their next meal is coming from.

    • gabal (@gabal) said on 25th October 2011, 10:55

      These are all people who have personal connection to Chandhok. And he seems like a really nice guy so I can understand press taking his side in this.
      Another thing I forgot to put in my earlier comment – top 10 prize money awards consistency – Lotus should get even more money for finishing in top 10 constructors two years in a row.

    • Ino (@f1givesyouwings) said on 25th October 2011, 11:06

      Tom Cary just tweeted about how Karun should have been confirmed as their driver months ago – I kind of agree. I don’t really like teams changing drivers around just for one race. If Team Lotus think that Karun has potential (rather than just using him for PR as he’s so popular) they should have given him the chance to race with them properly, not just as a one-off. If they want to stick with Trulli, that’s fine too. Just make your decision and stick to it.

    • Girts (@girts) said on 25th October 2011, 11:18

      Well I can understand that these guys would be happy to see Karun on the grid. Like @gabal says, they have personal connection to Chandhok who is a nice chap.

      However, expressions like “PR suicide” and “daft decision” seem too harsh for me. I think those journalists would agree that there is already too much marketing and too much PR in F1 so why have more of it?

  2. Mallesh Magdum (@malleshmagdum) said on 25th October 2011, 10:50

    although Team Lotus’ decision may be right, Chandhok isnt as bad a driver as most people here think….it is said that those win at Monaco are the best drivers….remember Chandhok almost won at Monaco in GP2…a driveshaft failure robbed him of a win when he was comfortably leading by about 10sec

  3. @malleshmagdum Mike Conway and Ho-Pin Tung once finished one-two at Monaco in GP2 so I’m not sure that stacks up too well.

    • Mallesh Magdum (@malleshmagdum) said on 25th October 2011, 11:00

      @kateM but karun led from the first lap…not sure about Trulli and the two others named here….my point is, how can u judge a driver without giving him a drive in a good car? In the Force India sim test, Karun and Neel Jani were faster than Di Resta…. Jani is an awesome driver too

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 25th October 2011, 11:08

        @jholland and @malleshmagdum I think Conway might just be good enough to have a shot at F1 as well, fact is, we will probably never find out.
        Possibly we will never see Chandhok get a chance to really show what he can do with a full season in a car that has some real potential. And we will never see how Wheldon could have done in such a deal.

        That does not mean they are not any good at it. Just that they never were in a position to show it or develop into that great driver and F1 champion they might have been.
        Fact is, that Chandhok had only a several races in the HRT last year and a few outings in FP1 and that one race in Germany to get experience with the car. Now the team are at a critical phase in the season, on a track they do not know. Putting in a driver experienced with the car just makes more sense for them.
        I think its still great Chandhok does get the chance to drive in FP1 and earn a place in Team Lotus (or anyone else?) for the longer term.

  4. Mallesh Magdum (@malleshmagdum) said on 25th October 2011, 10:54

    i believe that by giving a drive to Karun, Lotus wouldn’t have lost much…

    • The whole idea in F1 is never to lose anything, at least not if you can help it.

    • javlinsharp (@javlinsharp) said on 25th October 2011, 19:43


      The decision is easy to understand once you take personal emotion out of it. To paraphrase Joel Holland, the idea is never to lose anything.

      Giving the drive to Karun was not in the best interests of the team, the get nothing of value, and even “upset the apple cart” while on a current surge of performance.

      If I where a Lotus Team member, I would be insulted to see Karun drive, to risk the results of my team that I worked endlessly for, to literally change horsed mid-stream, just for a bit of NON POINTS PAYING public relations… Rubbish.

      This is F1, where it doesnt matter what country you’re from, what team you drive for, your 1 Lap pace, your Quali position, how much money you get paid (or pay for your seat), how hot your girlfriend is, None of it matters, EXCEPT those precious POINTS, because POINTS are the currency by which one can get everything else.

    • James_mc (@james_mc) said on 25th October 2011, 23:03

      I actually agree. While Chandhok wasn’t covering himself in glory in any of his outings, Trulli has not had a good season by any stretch of the imagination.

      Then again on balance, Chadhok was a fair bit off the pace of everyone, including Liuzzi, Ricciardo, Glock, D’Ambrosio and of course Super-Heikki in Germany. And pootled round in last for most of the race. Hmm…. not so sure now..

      But certainly a better option than Karthikeyen (I think…!)

  5. Bullfrog (@bullfrog) said on 25th October 2011, 11:03

    I’m surprised Karun’s not racing, the signs were that he would for a while now. It’s a close call, but Karthikeyan’s presence means there’s no real need – at least India has a man on the grid in its first race, and that’s unique among all the recent new Grands Prix in Asia.

    Trulli will only ever race here once or twice, and it’s only a slim chance Lotus will actually finish high enough to improve their constructors’ standing. One or two teams could misjudge the tyres, but otherwise it would need some kind of pile-up and I hope we don’t see that, this week of all weeks.

    That’s another reason not to drop an inexperienced guy in, as we saw with Senna at Spa – and Chandhok’s performance in Germany will count against him, he couldn’t keep up with Glock, Liuzzi and so on whereas Trulli on a good day is in among the Williamses.

    He’ll be knackered by Sunday anyway with all the (really good) PR work he’s doing in the build-up to the race, and Tony Fernandes touches on that.

  6. Brian said on 25th October 2011, 11:05

    ‘Team’, Chandhok running in India is a great result for ‘Team Lotus’. No first time indian viewer to F1 is going to ask ‘where are all the Italian and Finnish drivers?’.

  7. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 25th October 2011, 11:06

    Seems a good moment to recall the results of this:

    Should Chandhok and Karthikeyan race in India?

    61% wanted Chandhok in
    36% wanted Karthikeyan in
    24% wanted neither

  8. Tony Kumaramangalam said on 25th October 2011, 11:07

    Karun shouldn’t be too disappointed. I mean nobody wants to drive for this FAKE Lotus dream. He should immediately contact Ron Dennis or Luca Di Montezemolo and request for a test drive with them. I am sure they will oblige. Its better to test drive the mp4-12c or 458 that be a tester for this FAKE Lotus team.

  9. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 25th October 2011, 11:15

    I like Chandhok, he seems a nice guy. Giving him a chance at Lotus won’t change the outcome of the race, so it seemed appropiate to give the Indians another driver to cheer.

    But to be honest, it’s hard to disagree with Lotus’ decision. Why would they put Chandhok instead of Trulli or Kovalainen really? It’d just be a move to improve the image of the team in India, gain sponsors or whatever.

  10. vas04614 said on 25th October 2011, 11:26

    Wont be surprised if there are a few boos for Team Lotus come Quali and Race, but its a team decision though.

  11. Nothing to do with performance. Has to be money.

    Surely a brand new track is the ideal place to run an inexperienced driver, puts them on a more level playing field?

    • I would rather understand this from the other perspective. GP race in the very new venue often creates havoc/s. In order to go around the condition it is wiser to count on experience that will help understand the situation and take an advantage from it. Look at Korea the last year, it was raining like mad, this time around on new asphalt but it is very dusty. Tricky condition like this should be a chance for team like Team Lotus to salvage a point or two. Two car running in good team coordination should make this probability higher.

      This is not money related issue.

  12. vas04614 said on 25th October 2011, 11:29

    I think his German GP performance turned it and spoiled his chances. When he was given a chance to drive in Germany, it was clear that they wanted someone new in place of Jarno, but his race performance was bad enough for them to back track that thought.

  13. Not sure if it only about Chandok’s performance. the team need to up their game to higher level, for this a lot of feed backs are necessary, and for that the experiences count more than rookie’s speed. The team is aiming to tune the technology, strategy and the race in one and that is a bigger work than Cnadok’s race performance in Germany. But Chandok is building up his presence in the paddock and knowing the scene, so it will sure does something for him. He can be hungry for taking chances to come… my 2 cents tho.

  14. SpeedRacer said on 25th October 2011, 11:33

    They aren’t really racing for anything so the only reason has to be his very poor performance at Germany.

    • they are racing for tenth, and more to come… They want to beat Sauber, Williams and the likes, it is not an easy outing.

  15. ukonfire said on 25th October 2011, 11:35

    Just look at his reaction to all this. That a lone deserves a drive, I’d of flipped out. Feel for the lad! He may not be the best driver around but he sure knows how to handle himself out of the car.

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