29/09/2011

Karun Chandhok Interview!

We have now reached our target of 175 likes on facebook so as promised here is your interview!

Those of you who guessed our mystery interview was with Karun Chandhok ... you were right!

 (click to enlarge)

Below are the questions we put to him and his very interesting answers - enjoy! =)

1) How did you become an F1 driver, where did it all begin - can you briefly describe your journey for us?

Racing has been my life ever since I can remember. I used to watch F1 races from when I was 2 years old even though it never came on TV at that time, as we used to get the video tapes of the races from friends in the UK.  I’ve been obsessed with the sport and have grown up in a Motorsport environment (my grandfather raced in the 50’s and founded the Federation of Motorsports Clubs of India and my dad has been racing since 1972). It was a natural progression for me. I tell a lot of people that in India family businesses are very common so I guess you could say this is ours! Ever since I can remember I’ve wanted to be a racing driver so I’m glad to be part of the fortunate bunch that get to live out their childhood dream!!

2) What was your reaction when you heard the news that you would be racing for HRT for the 2010 season?

When everything got confirmed it was a truly unbelievable feeling. To fulfil a lifelong dream of being in Formula One was one of the biggest accomplishments of my career. When I got to Bahrain, I think it finally sank in that I was going to be on the same grid as World Champions like Schumacher and Alonso. At the same time I knew we had a huge challenge in front of us as we had never even tested the car.

3) You were obviously disappointed when you lost that seat; given that your performances were just as good as Senna's surely the decision was about money?

First of all it is great to see my former team-mate and good friend Bruno Senna behind the wheel of the Lotus Renault car and I'm very pleased to see him back racing again. Ups and downs is a common feature in any driver’s racing career and I am no different but luckily I turned all my focus on securing a seat for this year. Tony Fernandes and I started talking at the end of last year about where I could see myself going, and where the team is heading, and I was straight away impressed about how he wanted to build his Asian team - with Asian drivers, an Asian team principal and having more of an Asian influence in personnel as well. And it has been totally worth it as it feels good to be part of Team Lotus and I am glad that I am able to contribute in shaping the teams future.

4) So now you are at Team Lotus, are you enjoying your role at the team?

Team Lotus is less than 2 years old but they are one hell of an ambitious team and I am definitely glad to be part of the team. I came here because I actually believe that I will get more in the medium-long term from Lotus than anywhere else. The objective is not to be a permanent third driver, but to be back racing. The team has some great people with Tony (Fernandes), Mike (Gascoyne), Riad (Asmat) and Mark (Smith) etc. and I learn from them all the time.

We have made more progress over the last 18 months than the other two new teams, so from that point of view, it's interesting. But like any racing driver wants to race and I am no different.

5) Other than Bruno Senna (Who we know you get along with) who are your other good friends in the paddock?

Well while Bruno is a really good friend of mine I am quite friendly with the Mark (Webber), Jenson (Button) and Heikki (Kovalainen) as well.

6) We all hope you race at the Indian GP! What do you think the chances of Lotus allowing you to race are?

It will be a dream come true for me to drive at the Indian Grand Prix but unfortunately nothing has been confirmed as of now so will just wait and keep my fingers crossed. That’s a question for Tony and not me! To be honest, I don’t care even if it’s made on the 28th morning!!

7) How much will the Indian GP benefit the nation in the motorsport industry - do you think it will inspire budding racers?

Once the F1 race takes place in October, I am confident that the motorsports in the country will get a huge boost from all quarters. The viewership of F1 in India has gone up astronomically in the last 5 years.  I am told there are 27 million viewers of the sport in India and we need only 0.5 per cent of that to fill the circuit's capacity of one lakh and twenty thousand.

For me personally, the Indian GP will help set the platform for targeting to host other events like the MotoGP and various other forms for motorsport which are held every year throughout the world.  Everything in motorsport stems from Formula 1 so if we can make this event a success, I’m sure the results will resonate into the lower Formulas as well and this will give birth to more Indian drivers who will get a chance to fulfil their dream in the future.

8) A few months back you were quoted as saying "But you are not going to find the next Indian star by running events in single-engined four-stroke rental karts on 400 metre tracks made out of concrete." I'm sure everyone understood your frustration as you want Vijay Mallya to at least test Indian drivers at Force India but did you actually say that quote? Aren't motorsport stars always usually born from karting or do you stand by that quote?

I have already stated what I wanted to at that time so that chapter is now closed

9) What does the future hold for you 2012? Will you stay with Team Lotus? What about your prospects further into the future - do you think you could be World champion one day?

At this point I think I have to stay focused on the job at hand and do a good job every time I step into the car. The engineering team has been pretty positive with their feedback about me so far and hopefully I can then turn this into a full time race seat in the future.

10)
You have been commentating a lot recently for BBC Sport and Star Sports during free practices (quite brilliantly might I add) - do you enjoy that role? Is it something you would consider doing when you've retired from racing?

I’ve always said that if I wasn’t a racing driver then I would either be a team manager or a commentator. I enjoyed my previous stint with ESPN-STAR in Asia, Eurosport and Sky Sports and while I’d obviously love to be racing instead, it’s a great opportunity to share my views and knowledge of the sport with millions of people through their television sets. To get so much positive feedback from it has just been the icing on the cake!

Finally; do you have any message for our readers and fans?

Would request all of you to make sure you come and watch the inaugural Indian GP!!

I'm sure you'll agree some of those answers were very interesting indeed! To check out our older interviews please refer to our archive here.

We're delighted to have had this opportunity to interview such a major star and we're planning more major interviews in the future so stick with us here at Auto India Sports ;-)

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