I’ll try to be in F1 as long as I can: Chandhok (Interview)

October 27th, 2011 - 7:14 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 27 (IANS) Karun Chandhok will not be behind the wheel when the five lights go out at the inaugural Indian Grand Prix Sunday here at the Budh International Circuit (BIC). One can understand the disappointment of Team Lotus reserve driver and admire his commitment to fight for a permanent seat in the 2012 season.

For now, he loves talking about Formula One (F1) — the next best choice.

“Things are not easy in F1. It is a sport during the weekends and the other days it is pure business,” Karun told IANS.

“Obviously, I am disappointed about not racing in my home race. It would have been huge if there were two Indian drivers on the grid. However, it doesn’t change as far as my ambition goes. I deserve to be in F1 and will try to be there for as long as I can. Hopefully, with the right kind of financial backing, I can put my case for 2012.”

Just like compatriot Narain Karthikeyan, Karun has been struggling to find his feet in F1. After being invited by Red Bull for a test drive in 2007, he has managed 11 races in the last four seasons.

The Red Bull drive came to Karun after he became the first Indian to win a GP2 race in the same year when he emerged the fastest at the Spa-Francorchamps Circuit in Belgium. However, the win in a series considered a stepping stone to F1 was not enough as it took him another three years to break into F1, thanks to back of the grid Hispania Racing Team (HRT).

Much like Karthikeyan this year, he was replaced by Japanese Saikn Yamamoto after first 10 races of 2010 season and in the current one he was picked only for the German Grand Prix.

Much of these hardships occurred due to financial issues associated with an expensive sport like F1 and now Karun hopes to raise the required sponsorship for a full season next year.

Karun says it will be painful for him to watch the Indian Grand Prix from the paddock of the Buddh International Circuit but he has chalked out plans for the weekend.

“I will have time after the practice session Friday. I will continue to work with the team, be with the organisers, the guests and spend some time with you guys. I believe I have enough knowledge about how things work in the sport,” he says referring to the Indian media in the end.

The Chennai-based driver is a proud Indian with the race happening in his country and feels the sport is here to say.

“The Indian Grand Prix will stay on the F1 calendar long-term. India are a huge market for the sport. F1 is most popular in Europe but looking at the economy scenario there, it makes sense for FIA to expand the sport in countries like India, Brazil, Russia and China.”

And what does he want to do after his racing career?

“It is an easy one, actually. When I am done with F1, I will most likely become a full-time commentator.”

“I still do it when I get the time. I just like to have fun with it (commentating),” he quips.

Karun signs off by wishing his A1 GP teammate Karthikeyan good luck racing on the momentous occasion.

(Bharat Sharma can be contacted at bharat.s@ians.in)

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