Chandhok will not race Lotus in India UPDATE
This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Team Lotus will contest the Indian grand prix with its regular driver lineup, the team said on Tuesday.
|With the new circuit sure to be dusty, Chandhok will be the Friday street cleaner in India|
Reserve driver and Indian native Karun Chandhok had been hoping to move into the race cockpit this weekend but had flagged issues relating to Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen's 2011 contracts.
It is also believed the Tony Fernandes-led team does not want to jeopardize its lucrative tenth place in the constructors' standings.
Chandhok said, “I am very excited about driving at the new Buddh International Circuit in FP1 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 and Heikki. 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.” 10/12/11 (GMM) Karun Chandhok might not be given the wheel of a Team Lotus car to contest his country's inaugural Indian grand prix later this month.
In recent months, it seemed likely that Chandhok - the Tony Fernandes-headed team's reserve driver - would line up a green-liveried car on the first grid at the new Buddh circuit.
But Malaysian Fernandes said on Wednesday: "I'd like to see him in the car, but practically there's no point in putting him in just for the sake of it."
Chandhok took over Jarno Trulli's T128 at the Nurburgring earlier this season, but at the tail end of 2011 the team is holding onto the lucrative tenth place in the constructors' championship despite not earning a single point.
"We have two extremely experienced race drivers and I've got to do what's right for them and for the team, not for Karun or for the Indian fans," Fernandes told F1's official website.
"My heart would love to see him race there. Emotionally it makes sense, but we have to come tenth and we have the right people to do that for us," he added.
Fernandes also hinted strongly that his team, rumored to be called Caterham in 2012, will give up its 'Lotus' moniker for 2012 to the Lotus-sponsored Renault.
"We have to be realistic about this situation. Is where we are now tenable? I don't think so. It doesn't help F1 and it doesn't help the fans," he said.
Fernandes insisted that an end to the confusion will ensure "F1 wins, Group Lotus wins, Renault wins, and we win, (so) why not?"