Lotus: Trulli and Chandhok to swap back in Hungary

2011 German Grand Prix

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Karun Chandhok took over Jarno Trulli’s car at Lotus but endured a tough comeback.

Heikki KovalainenKarun Chandhok
Qualifying position1820
Qualifying time comparison (Q1)1’35.599 (-0.823)1’36.422
Race position1620
Pit stops23

Lotus drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):


Heikki Kovalainen112.42102.631101.669101.412102.348101.914101.837102.056101.191101.517101.324101.187100.945100.82100.808101.945102.502101.359100.894100.551100.932100.277100.449100.818101.702103.309118.73499.21101.13199.683102.021101.044101.20599.52599.6599.24799.59799.68199.453101.08101.07599.80799.4199.08199.34899.57899.194100.47101.434101.574118.282101.95399.75299.0599.104101.14199.204101.346
Karun Chandhok115.754105.844103.154102.78102.463102.667102.25102.51103.319144.536133.725102.093101.412101.644104.278102.408103.06101.963103.852104.687101.708101.689103.708101.573101.597101.837106.036129.156129.21101.458103.664102.23101.073101.202102.84104.917103.433101.372101.182100.91102.751105.164104.665100.858100.599101.161101.835102.903101.199103.916104.966124.99100.815102.573102.917100.435

Heikki Kovalainen

Without his usual team mate to race with Kovalainen had a lonely Grand Prix, finishing a lap behind Buemi and a lap ahead of the Virgins.

Heikki Kovalainen 2011 form guide

Karun Chandhok, Lotus, Nurburgring, 2011

Karun Chandhok

Chandhok made clear progress throughout his first race weekend in the cockpit since last year’s British Grand Prix. But he ended it some way off his team mate’s pace.

Having been 2.4s slower than Kovalainen in first practice he was within a second of his team mate in qualifying. “Tony [Fernandes] had said to me that if I could get within a second of Heikki he’d be proud,” said Chandhok, “and I finished about 0.8 off him so that’s a goal achieved.”

He had several spins during the weekend including during the race. Having started well he ran wide at turn four and fell to last place.

Chandhok kept pace with the Jerome d’Ambrosio-Daniel Ricciardo battle before having the first of two spins on lap nine.

He finished last, four laps down (despite Fernandes’ post-race remarks that he’d “finished the full 60 laps”) and two laps behind his team mate.

Chandhok said: “That’s a full race distance completed and an awful lot of learning under my belt.

“Honestly, that probably wasn’t the race I wanted – I had a couple of high speed spins and I think I need more time to get used to the tyres.

“When they start to go off there’s very little give compared to last year’s rubber, but that’s all part of the learning process and I’m glad I got the car home and did the best job I could.”

Lotus have confirmed Trulli will be back in the car at the Hungaroring.

Karun Chandhok 2011 form guide

2011 German Grand Prix

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    Image © Team Lotus

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    38 comments on “Lotus: Trulli and Chandhok to swap back in Hungary”

    1. Yes, not much to tell us about Heikki, didn’t even get a shot of him on track during the race!

      I think Karun did a great job, he kept the car going and largely unharmed through all those spins, giving Lotus loads of air time!
      Sure has a way of spinning with the media, this guy :-D

      1. Are you kidding me? Chandhok fanboys… First its all Chandhok can do better than Trulli. When he fails, oo I think he did a good job.

        lol? He finished a lap down to a rookie who has not much more experience with the new tyres. Also not the first time he raced the new tyres this year. But than again he crashed in the first corner then.

        1. effe dimmen Deurmat. I was making fun of how “good a job” he did there.

          Not that I think he was horrible, but hardly worth being called a fanboy.

    2. Karun didn’t do a very good job at all in my opinion. He should’ve been ahead of Ricciardo at least. Silly mistakes he had all weekend to rectify, occurred in the race, I may be being slightly harsh but if you finish behind a HRT with an inexperienced driver in it you simply don’t cut it. Lotus will be glad to get Trulli back in the car.

      1. Agreed. Everyone says he’s a good guy, but that doesn’t guarantee him a seat. Talent is needed.

        1. Not sure what I think. All I know is that he should have finished ahead of at least Ricciardo.

        2. He might be a good guy to do broadcasting someday. Maybe sooner rather than later.

          He didn’t impress. But at least we were kept well informed of his progress, making it somewhat of a study of how it is for a driver to get into a car for real in the middle of the season.

          I guess this is all going as planned for Trulli who maybe didn’t see himself do well here, took some rest and relaxation and will be back in Hungary showing exactly why the will have gotten him a new and improved power steering. Or not, he’ll certainly not be under more pressure now!

    3. Yes but Karun has not had much driving time, a few sessions that haven’t lasted long. He needs time to get to know the car, it is not suited to his drving style, brake material, hense the frequent spinning and the car is more designed towards Heikki and Jarno as they are the teams main drivers, if he was giving a string of a few races I’m sure he could develop the car to his style and extract his performance, remember he properly hasn’t driven an F1 car for a very long period of time for over a year!

      1. remember he properly hasn’t driven an F1 car for a very long period of time for over a year!

        One might argue he hasn’t ever driven an F1 car properly ;)

      2. what is the difference between Karun and Ricciardo?

        -Ricciardo drive HRT. Karun drive much faster Team Lotus.
        -He only had 2 grand prix in his belt. Karun had 11(?) grand prix
        – Ricciardo FP1 session was in a different car. Karun FP1 was in Team Lotus (yeah it rain but he should at least get some picture how T128 behave)
        -Ricciardo drive Narain car, Karun drive Trulli car.

        1. Ricciardo did have a quite decent amount of testing time last year and this year in the STR car though, and even some in the Red Bull. Not equivalent to a race weekend, but enough to make him know the cars.

          But he also might have more potential. Seems quite likely.

    4. There’s something very hinky about this whole Chandhok-Trulli swap. If a driver as experienced as Trulli has these undiagnosed power steering problems, I don’t really see what putting a driver as inexperienced as Chandhok into the car will do. Team Fernandes say it’s for “collecting data”, but if they’re forced to resort to these measures, then I think something is very wrong.

    5. If Chandhok wasn’t a media butt licker, we wouldn’t heard of him. I’m amused how his journalists friends want us to believe that he deserve a seat or how unfair Force India team boss is for not giving him a chance. He’s rubbish. End of story!

      1. That’s a harsh way of putting what I was gonna say! Lack of recent running is no excuse when you come below Ricciardo driving the slowest car in the field. Nice guy, but a useless driver.

        1. To be fair, Ricciardo has a lot more recent experience than Chandhok. Before Germany, Chandhok had driven the Fernandes a grand total of three and a half times: in Istanbul, in Valencia, at Silverstone, and the half time was at Melbourne because (he crashed after three corners).

          Daniel Ricciardo, on the other hand, might have made his Formula 1 debut at Silverstone, but he had driven a Toro Rosso in FP1 at every event this year. With FP1 being 90 minutes long plus a two-hour Grand Prix, Ricciardo had fourteen hours’ experince with the 2011 cars before the Nurburgring. Chandhok, on the other hand, had just four and a half.

      2. If only I didn’t have to see your comment, Manuel. I suspect the vast majority of readers feel the same.

    6. Widowfactory
      25th July 2011, 11:52

      I dont know why a lot of people rate Chandhok so highly. He was regularly beaten by Senna last year, and finished this race a whole 2 laps behind his team mate. He is a very knowledgable, entertaining commentator and would probably make a very good development driver, but his actual driving skills are far below average. Any one else would consider qualifying 0.8 seconds off their team mate a poor result.

      1. To be fair, many drivers qualify more than 0.8 secs behind their teammates and they still have fans.

        In Germany alone
        BUT – 1.15 secs off HAM
        MSC – 1.22 secs off ROS
        and maybe it’s just me, but I kinda think both those guys are kinda competent ;-)

        When comparing Chandock to Ricciardo, I think what we’re seeing is less that Karun sucks as much as we’re seeing, in Ricciardo, probably the next real deal.

        To be within 2 x 100ths of LIU a couple of races in suggests to me, he’s the kind of racer who will take a relatively crap car and put it in places it has no business being.

        We may be seeing the next VET, HAM, or ALO… I for one am very impressed so far. All we need to do is pair him with a team that has the development chops and a partner who can impart development / setup wisdom… What’s Rubens doing these days?

    7. I don’t think it’s fair to criticise Karun too much. His stint at HRT was characterised more by a lack of impressive pace than the spins we’ve seen over the weekend. He also mentioned in his BBC interview that Lotus uses different brakes to the ones he was used to at HRT, which would explain their frequency (remember Australia practice too?)

      If he’d have had as much Friday running as other young drivers have had this year, this would have been a better performance, I feel.

      1. I think he can draw from some positives this weekend. He was within 0.8s of his teammate, and he learn’t a lot about the car on friday and saturday, unfortunately, he screwed up on Sunday. Finishing behind an HRT and the Virgin drivers in a quicker car isn’t too good. I think people here are being a little too hrash, just as they were on Ricciardo last week.

        I dont think Chandhok is a phenomenal talent by any means, but hes not as bad as a lot of drivers we have seen in the past.
        (Yamamoto, Karthikeyan, etc.)

        1. I still don’t understand why people are so sure Chandok is better than Karthikeyan… I’ve seen no evidence for it whatsoever.

          1. What I can say is he was not that bad in races last year. Everybody needs some time to adapt to new car and tires in F1. Even much more hyped Riccardo was 2lap down.

            Kovalainen is doing very well this year compared to Trulli. So give Karun some time.

          2. To be honest Karthikeyan has had his fair shot at f1 in the 2005 season. He was present at all the pre season tests, in season tests and each and every race of the year. Karthikeyan got a proper opportunity, and he shwed us that he was terrible.

            Chandhok on the other hand, got to race with a shambolic team, and 1st stepped into the race car in FP3 of the first race weekend. After 9 races he was finally coming to grips with and the car, and he was dropped.

            I just think Chandhok deserves his fair shot in the sport, Karthikeyan has already had his.

            1. I watched 2005 season and I have to disagree. IMO Narain deserved second season at Midland and not Monteiro, so in a way he wasn’t given a proper chance. This season after 6 seasons out and with the same shambolic team who didn’t even qualify for the first race, let alone tested in the winter he was paired with much more experienced driver and got close to him on few occasions. Maybe he was just coming to grips with the car when he was dropped, on financial reasons. Wait, wasn’t it exactly what happened to Chandok last year? And by the way, last year Chandok was paired with another rookie and was beaten by him as he was in GP2 as well. By comparison, in 2005 there were occasions that Narain was 1.5-2 sec quicker than Monteiro in qualy. I”m not saying that Monteiro=Senna but it just shows Narain doesn’t deserve all the slack that he gets.

              To sum up, none of what you said convinced me that Karun>Narain. You might be correct that Karun didn’t get a fair chance but so has Narain.

    8. Let’s be honest, Chandok isn’t good enough for F1, simple as that. Even if he had had plenty of practice, the likelihood is he’d still have been well off the pace of Kovalainen

      1. He’s a lovely chap. Just not good enough for F1. I don’t want to be too critical of the guy as he would destroy me in any car race, but i’m not claiming to be an F1 driver – he is. Let’s get him back in the commentary box – he truly has a world class talent in talking about racing.

    9. Now Trulli will return with good power steering(probably) also next race is very handling oriented circuit. So we will see how Trulli was suffered from poor steering…or how he gets slower.

      1. Yep, plus both Kova and Trulli like this circuit very much and done there well in the past. If Trulli’s steering is fixed should be a good scrap.

    10. I’m glad Trulli is getting his seat back. I don’t understand why Lotus would ever replace Trulli who is very experienced with Chandhok who has admittedly been given a poor chance at the sport but he’s proved with every lap that he is useless. The BBC seem a it obsessed with him as well, every time they have any excuse they go and interview him – do they not realsie that we would prefer to hear from a decent driver or even a reserve driver from another team.

      1. Speak for yourself.

        Most fans enjoy hearing from Chandhok. He is very knowledgeable, articulate, and passionate about the sport, unlike, dare I say, most other F1 drivers.

        I can only think of one reason why you have such a dislike for Chandhok, but I will give you the benefit of the doubt.

        1. The one reason I have to dislike him is his lack of talent.

      2. I think you’re on to something there! Maybe its a conspiracy for us all to like him. Chandock replaces Trulli and all of a sudden Martin Brundle is doing his gridwalk from the back of the grid!!

    11. People are going on about Chandhok only being 0.8 seconds off Heikki’s pace in Qualifying but what they (and Karun himself) fail to mention or posssibly realise is that Heikki had to abandon his second run flying lap in quali (hence coverage of him turning around in a run off area) and he went back to the garage. So i’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have been less than a second off had Heikki had finished that lap. Chandhok has not shown even fleeting glimpses that he is a driver for the future unfortunately.

    12. I think its fair to say that a first race in a new team is never going to be brilliant…

      However… He probably wasn’t fast enough.

      Worse still, is he has no chance to improve.

      1. That is the worst thing. You need continuity and Chandhok isn’t well blessed with that.

        I thought it was a decent result for him.

    13. To be honest I don’t see any talent in Chandok.

    14. Trulli will be back in the Lotus then.

      Damm it I was hoping Lotus would keep Chanhdok and even sign him up for a fulltime seat so HRT would then be able to beat them in the constructors champioship.

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