Karun Chandhok, Lotus, Nurburgring, 2011

Chandhok will not race in Indian Grand Prix

2011 Indian Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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

151 comments on “Chandhok will not race in Indian Grand Prix”

Jump to comment page: 1 2 3
  1. I don’t like the way teams change driver from race to race.

    At the start of each season, they should have to declare their two drivers & two reserves, and only be able to change in the event of injury.

    There should be some stipulation that if you do change driver (i.e., promote the reserve) for non-injury related reasons, he has to remain driver until the mid-season break (or to the end of the season if after the break) – almost like substitutions in football – once you pull him out, you can’t just change your mind again.

    1. John Snakes F1
      25th October 2011, 12:19

      While you are right, Chandhok’s case at Team Lotus is a bit different. He’s been driving regularly on Friday for the team, he even did a complete weekend in Germany. What’s the point of all that if in the end they decide not to make him race in his own country in India? The team’s decision is absolutely logical as it’s based on performance grounds, and we all know Chandhok is not worthy of an F1 seat. But then, why do they continue to put him in the car in FP1?

      I feel sorry for him, it would have been nice for India to have him on the grid, even if he was going to be trashed again by Kovalainen.

      1. Racing Galore
        25th October 2011, 14:26

        Because he’s paying for those FP1 sessions, something that was decided at the beginning of the year. Indian GP drive was a part of the package too but maybe his sponsors came up short. That’s the only explanation.

  2. Chris Amon Fan
    25th October 2011, 11:57

    Feeling sorry for the guy even if I don’t think he is anything special. And although Trulli is also not much more than a journeyman nowadays I think it’s better to keep him in that seat.

    That said I hope 2012 will be Trulli’s last season. I wished him to retire this season already.

    Well the Indians still have Narain to cheer on I guess…
    Narain might be awful now, I remember he showed good promise at Jordan until Monteiro got his act together.

  3. A driver get a racing seat just because of his nationality and not because of his talent is such a disgrace to F1 which claimed to be the pinnacle of motorsport. If that the case, then we should have Ho-Ping Tung in Chinese GP, Fairuz Fauzy in Malaysia GP, Sakon Yamamoto in Japan GP. If Karun Chandok really that good he should be driving for a much better team right now, not moaning on his missed chance of racing at his own country.

    1. Hi Sesku S. nice comment but you just copy it from autosport.com and I know the original poster of that comment!!!

  4. Joe Saward’s take on the Chandhok decision. He also breaks down precisely how much is 10th place worth more over 11th.

  5. Good move by the team, Chandhok is a nice guy, but not good enough for F1 as seen at the Nurburgring GP.

    1. John Snakes F1
      25th October 2011, 12:40

      You could say the same for so many other drivers. Trulli, Luizzi, Narain, Massa, Senna…..

  6. Why not have wildcard entries like MotoGP? Gives drivers more chances to prove themselves, and Luca can have his 3rd car dream come true… OF course it will have to be regulated.

  7. Good choice from Lotus, respect to them.

    Like @keith-Collantine said above, it’s a little naive to assume that the Indians won’t be interested just because their fellow national is without a race seat. If you did have a country with such fickle interest you probably would have bigger and more important questions to answer!

  8. i’m from India & i really don’t care if either Karun or Narian race there on Sunday… what i’m really hoping for is a good race which among the best drivers in the world & fight out for those places on a track which i hope will allow for some exciting & hard racing. The only way F1 will be popular here is by showing a great racing & engineering spectacle. nobody deserves a racing chance just because it’s your home race or your father help build the track…. i think many Indians will only appreciate if that driver has earned the race seat by performing exceptionally & is probably a future world champion in the making or even good enough to win a few races. Karun & Narain simply don’t have anything to offer, rather more fans will be keen on seeing Hamiton, Vettel, Alonso & Schumacher!!

    1. John Snakes F1
      25th October 2011, 14:10

      Yes. Hamilton is probably more famous in India than Varun Chandock or Narayan Karthik. At least here in bangalore, we worship Lewis & Mclaren.

      1. At least here in bangalore, we worship Lewis & Mclaren.

        Speak for your self. I am from Bangalore. I love to watch him race, but, I dont “worship” him. Jeez, he aint God!

  9. I understand why TF has chosen to do this to help secure the future of the team by aiming for that coveted 10th place and the cash that comes with it. I’m still gutted for Karun though, and the many Indian fans that have bought Lotus merchandise especially to wear in support of Karun on Sunday. I just hope Jarno and Heiki manage to bag some decent points otherwise Chandhok’s sacrifice will have been in vain.

  10. I think something to remember about Karun’s performance at nurburgring is that it was the 1st time he’d ever driven the car on a dry track, 1st time he’d ever run the pirelli’s on a dry track & the 1st time he’d driven an f1 car on a dry track in over a year.
    Think it was also the 1st time he’d driven any race car on a dry track at speed in a year as well.

    give karun a proper shot in a half decent car & i woudn’t be surprised to see him surprise many of his critics.

    1. How many shot you want? he already driven in FP1 for a number of time and didn’t set anything on fire plus no other team want him. Karun should be grateful that Team Lotus at least accept him into the team and drove in FP1. Not many reserve/third driver had that privilege.

      1. but all of those fp drives have been in the wet so there is no chance to really drive the car anywhere close to the limit.
        driving a car in the wet & driving the car in the dry are 2 totally different things, the car feels totlly different in either situation.

        plus the pirelli wets & drys are 2 totally different things. like i said in the above post, he’d never driven on the pirelli dry tyres so had no idea how they handled. i read at the time of german gp that part of his problem in the race was that he was wearing the tyres much faster than anyone else due to his lack of familiarity with how they worked.

  11. Karun just hide his mediocre racing talent and average result with sweet talking and PR ********. He charm the fan with his good PR skill and making himself lovely and adorable to the journo and fan with the hope than will bring him racing opportunity.

  12. Good decision by the team Lotus. We have heard numerous times that the sports is bigger than any individual. I have lived in Bangalore for 10 years and beleive me, there is a huge fan following for Schumi, Fernando, Lewis. In a country where F1 became famous because of Senna, Prost, Mansell, Schumi – it is great to have Indian drivers. It creates local interest and spikes ticket sales. But, not having them on the grid makes no difference to me. True F1 fans will continue to follow the sport and support their team / drivers.

    If Indian cricket fans is able to watch a Zimbabwe vs Kenya match, why can’t they watch a F1 race (with one Indian F1 driver)

    PS: Demans for him to leave the fake lotus and opt for a drive in Ferrari or McLaren is pure ignorance.

    1. PS: DemansDemands…..teeheeee

      1. Excuse me….!! Have you even been alived for the past few months, how many times!! It is the real Lotus, I have had enough ‘of it is the fake Lotus‘. They won the court case and by the it actually makes them the Lotus of F1, never mind that RENAULT are sponsered by GROUP LOTUS, it is a sponser and not the actual owner, if the court felt GROUP LOTUS was the true Lotus not the FAKE Lotus they would have been made Lotus!!

        1. @formula-1 hmm, by the way, I never said they are fake lotus… one user in F1F demanded Karun to leave the ‘fake lotus’ team in order to look out for a better drive in either Ferrari or McLaren and I phrased that statement being pure ignorant. Peace out !

          1. Well from the way is written it seemed like an after not you had written and if you deem it not fake Lotus you should have emphasised it ie. italics/bold.

  13. As much as I’d have loved to see Chandok in the car, I have a lot of respect for Lotus making the decision they did. It’s obvious they’re taking this more seriously than simply “this will get us great advertising with the fans.” I personally have nothing against lower teams putting a local driver in the car if they have nothing to lose *coughHRTcough* but I also have a high regard for a team that gives a respectful “we want to, but we shouldn’t” to the driver.

  14. Only 254 people on the team. Wow! When you think about it Red Bull has 515 and Mclaren has more than 600.

  15. I’ll go against the majority opinion here and say Lotus should have given Chandhok the seat. I don’t really think there is a danger that they will lose their 10th place in standings. If for some reason the race turns out to be chaotic, who is to say Jarno will be there to take advantage. What are they afraid of, that Karun sticking the car into the wall? That is a Tilke track with acres of run-off. Not that Karun needs all that runoff, he is not that bad.

    Trulli has past his peak long time ago and should retire. He is not very motivated, drives anonymously and whines all the time. Try Chandhok for the rest of this year starting with Indian GP. If he does not succeed, replace him with another young talent. Lotus has Kovalainen if they want experience.

  16. I think Team Lotus made the right decision in the end. Good as it would have been to see Chandhok in the race, would he have been any better than Trulli or Kovalainen? I doubt it.

    Kovalainen is their best driver, so it wouldn’t make sense to make him sit out.

    Personally I feel that Trulli is past it and should make way for someone younger, but nevertheless he recently signed a new contract with Lotus so on that basis it wouldn’t be right to drop him either.

    Chandhok is inexperienced in general and hasn’t had a lot of time running in this ca, let alone racing it. At least he gets some time to drive in front of his home fans in FP1.

    1. I agree completely. Although I can’t for the life of me see why they have extended Trulli’s contract. Surely it is time for Jarno to hang up the helmet & give someone else a go. Whether that is Chandhok or not remains to be seen, but Trulli is way past it.

  17. Good decision the team progressed a lot this year & having experience chap will be a good value to collect data from the car,though it is a sad experience for Karun but he have to swallow it.

  18. No surprise still he may get another chance hopefully

  19. I’m split on this…. mainly because when it comes to midfield, or indeed, lower teams what difference does it make? They have two ok drivers, one of whom is experienced but well past his prime and who is effectively just a placeholder… surely the PR of letting a great guy like Chandhok race in his home race, the 1st ever Indian F1 race, is worth more than watching Trulli probably just crash into someone on the first lap anyway… Harsh may be, but really, my main point… what difference will it really make, even if Trulli was to finish 14th and Chandhok might only finish 18th… Does anyone care? The PR value, and F1 has a lot of PR value, seems to outweigh any notions of competitiveness in this particular instance, plus I feel for Chandhok, it felt inevitable he would be given this one drive, but apparently not now. It’s sad. He would have been interviewed by all the major channels, given Lotus and it’s sponsors some great airtime… no one’s going to be talking to Trulli.

  20. Amod D Kulkarni
    26th October 2011, 8:21

    Booo to Lotus !

Jump to comment page: 1 2 3

Leave a Reply

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

All comments are moderated. See the Comment Policy and FAQ for more.