Chandhok will not race in Indian Grand Prix

2011 Indian Grand Prix

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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 – 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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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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

    1. 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.

      1. But Heikki might (before extinguishing that same fire himself :-D)

      2. @ Sebring-Mike Probably not, but they can be at least more confident he won’t damage the car.

        1. monaco 2010? trulli parked his superior lotus on top of the joke-shop hrt that karun was driving. Lets be sensible about this it was monaco that was never going to happen, trullis not fast or smart and he complains to much he’s had his time. At least karun would be thankful of the drive insted of making up some face saving twaddle about powersteering, your comparison is always your team m8 and heikki’s been doing just fine

          1. Fair point about Monaco 2010. However, every driver is allowed mistakes. I think most would agree that Trulli is a safer bet than Chandhok is.

      3. Chandhok driving would’ve been based on money and publicity and not on talent. At the Nurburgring he showed he isn’t great. and performed worse than what Trulli would’ve performed.

    2. 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.

      1. 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.

      2. 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!

        1. Lmao Ned! COTD for me.

        2. Ha, to be honest I find the ‘nice guy’ image he has a bit overdone, but that seems to be the reason that most F1 journos seem to be up in arms about it. I almost have to admire him for convincing so many men who are allegedly knowledgeable about the sport that he deserves seat!

    3. 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.

      1. 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. 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.

      1. 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!

        1. famous last words Ned…

        2. There’s a possibility that every race is going to be attritional – I never said how much!

          I guess I think because it’s the first race there, but perhaps I’m living in the past…

      2. @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.

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

      1. 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.

        1. Most likely Virgin. HRT’s running Karthikeyan after all!

      2. 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.

        1. 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. 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.

      1. 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!

        1. @magnificent-geoffrey Ah, you should’ve posted it anyway.

      2. 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.

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

        1. 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.

          1. 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

            1. 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.

      4. 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.

        1. 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.

        2. 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.

      5. 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.

      6. 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.

      7. 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.

        1. 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.

          1. 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.

      8. 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

        1. 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.

      9. “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.

        1. 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.

          1. 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.

            1. 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’).

            2. 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.

      10. 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.

        1. If drives were handed out on the basis of being a nice guy, not one multiple WDC would have made it into the sport.

      11. 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.

      12. sid_prasher (@)
        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. 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.


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

        1. @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.

          1. 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.

      2. @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.

        1. The problem with the 107% currently is that it is tied to the best time in Q1, rather than Q3.

          1. For me, that is about the only thing that actually fits with that rule. The rest of it is arbitrary and a waste of ressources.

    9. 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.

      1. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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

    16. 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

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

      2. 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.

      3. Ino (@f1givesyouwings)
        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.

      4. 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?

    17. 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

      1. Trulli won the actual Monaco GP and no one rates him anymore. One race does not make a career…

      2. remember Chandhok almost won at Monaco in GP2

        Girgio Pantano beated Bruno Senna to the title in GP2 and no one remembers him either.

        It’s what you do in F1 that keeps you within the circus. Look at Kobayashi, mediocre everywhere, but he really showed he deserves a ride in F1 since he got to drive that Toyota in 2009.

        1. @fer-no65 In fairness, by the time Pantano won the title he’d been racing at that level for eight years.

    18. @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.

      1. @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

        1. @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.

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

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

      2. @malleshmagdum

        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.

      3. 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…!)

    20. 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.

    21. ‘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?’.

    22. 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

      1. That doesn’t add up does it!

        1. It does. My mistake #settheoryfail

    23. Tony Kumaramangalam
      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.

    24. 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.

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

    26. 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?

      1. 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.

    27. 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.

    28. 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.

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

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

    30. 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.

    31. Distortion DS-2
      25th October 2011, 11:37

      I’m pretty sure Karun would be able to use the power steering better than Trulli

    32. I think they should have given him a drive. so on that basis I hope Trulli has a little off in the first corner and bins his car.

    33. thats devastating :(

      it would have been brilliant for him to have raced his home GP, better luck next year i suppose

    34. Maybe this is why Turkey never took off as a grand prix. Someone should have given Can Artam or Jason Tahincioglu a pity seat.

    35. Bruno is no better than Chandok, yet he gets to drive a Renault because of his famous uncle. Clearly double standards.

      1. Bruno is no better than Chandok

        Their time as team mates at iSport and HRT says otherwise.

        1. Ok, its your ranking, not official FIA ranking. That doesn’t prove anything. I am convinced Bruno is a mediocre pilot.

          1. not official FIA ranking

            You might want to check the 2008 GP2 championship standings.

            In 2010 their championship ranking was largely decided by how many other cars finished the races. As I said at the time, it looked to me like Senna was the better driver – an observation borne out by the fact that it wasn’t Senna who lost his drive halfway through the season.

            You obviously think otherwise, perhaps you could explain why?

    36. I just don’t understand; why after such heart breaking moment for motorsport in the last couple of weeks; some people still wish for bad thing to happen to either Trulli or Heikki just because Karun didn’t get a chance to race in front of his own people.

      1. Im with you there @silencer… Ive learned in my life that most people with never miss an opportunity to exhibit low class behavior.

        Indeed, I really dont know why there is so much outcry here.
        Karun is a Reserve driver, nobody said a word when he didnt race in Korea, or Sepang. Whats the difference now?

        This is one race, they didnt fire him, they didnt take away his birthday, they simply changed their minds for the good of the team OF WHICH HE IS A MEMBER. Po Po baby, somebody send him a blanket and teddy bear.

    37. Good news in my book, he doesn’t deserve it. Being Indian and a nice bloke doesn’t change the fact that he’s been mediocre at best throughout his career.

    38. Good news. Why should Team Lotus act like HRT?

      1. Because they can get more sponsorship money by racing Chandhok than Trulli? And the 10th place in the championship won’t be affected when Trulli bins the car (again).

        1. How many times has Trulli binned it this year then?

        2. @team extreme

          Because they can get more sponsorship money by racing Chandhok than Trulli

          Wow man, Sounds like you have detailed information about the specific terms and conditions of the Sponsorship arrangements at Lotus. Quit holding out on us and share the juicy details.

          Unless of course, you are simply making assumptions and presenting them as facts.

    39. 10th in the WCC is worth a lot of money to the team. Let’s face it Chandhok has hardly proven himself in the races this year has he?

    40. 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. 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.

    41. 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.

    42. 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 and I know the original poster of that comment!!!

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

    44. 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…..

    45. 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.

    46. 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!

    47. 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!

    48. 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.

    49. 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.

    50. 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.

    51. 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.

    52. 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.

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

    54. 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.

    55. 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.

    56. 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.

    57. No surprise still he may get another chance hopefully

    58. 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.

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

      Booo to Lotus !

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