09/08/2011

Karun Chandhok's journey so far - rain, bad luck and surprises!

While we have a bit of a break until the next race we at Auto India Sports decided we would review the Indian interests in F1 this season - first up is Karun Chandhok.

Our opinions are below:

Darshan Chokhani
After weeks of wait and speculation, it was finally announced that Karun will join Team Lotus as their Reserve Driver for the season. Karun’s first day at work started from Australian GP. Unfortunately, in the damp and rainy conditions he lost control in his first lap, damaging the car and ending his day. He next sat in Turkish GP, again a wet session where he just managed few timed laps. Next up was European GP, though his bad luck continued as he faced with gearbox problems and couldn’t set anytime. His luck changed a bit in British GP though as he got some timed lap under his belt finally.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was when the team announced that Karun will get a whole weekend to drive in place of Trulli. I wasn’t expecting it at, all seriously but was happy for him. It was a tough start to his weekend as he faced a lot of brakes issue in the Practice session. It was more than a year since he last drove in a race and with new additions such as DRS and Pirelli tyres, it was more challenging. He managed to qualify within 0.8s of Heikki. Coming in the race, he had a difficult start as he bundled down to last place, he thus ended last classified finisher but it was nice to see him finish the race at least.

This is it for him during the first half the season, he got several chances in FP1 sessions (although it didn’t go according to plan), a full weekend and he did some straight line testing for the team as well. Overall, he can be satisfied with his new team, he has done quite a good job up till now. I am sure he will be getting few more runs in the second half of the season with a possibility of racing in Indian GP as well.

Peter Santamaria-Woods
It's been a mixed season for Karun Chandhok so far.

Despite being a reserve driver he has managed four outings in FP1 thanks to Team Lotus boss Tony Fernandes who appears keen to give Karun a try. However those four outings could have gone much better! In Australia he crashed into the barriers after just a few corners. In Turkey wet conditions meant he managed just six laps. In Europe he failed to set a laptime due to gearbox issues and in Britain he finally got some luck, completing seventeen laps. In a surprise move by Team Lotus they let Karun have a race seat in Germany, replacing Jarno Trulli. He improved steadily over the weekend and finished the race in 20th place.

From here Karun should have more FP1 drives for the remainder of the season and there is speculation that he will get to drive the whole weekend at his home race, the Indian GP. He needs to impress in that race if he is to grab a race seat for 2012.

I think Karun is a very quick driver, he proved that last season alongside Bruno Senna in a car that was horrible to drive. I actually have him pegged as a potential World Champion – but that’s only going to happen with a little luck on his part, so far he hasn’t had much!

The next review will be Narain Karthikeyan, so keep an eye out for that! Remember to tell your friends about us.

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