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F1 NEWS 

Chandhok eyes Force India seat for '09

Karun Chandhok thinks he can put himself in firm contention for a race seat at Force India in 2009 if he shines in GP2 this year.

The Indian had been linked with the Silverstone-based team since they were taken over by Vijay Mallya, a friend of Chandhok, late last year.

And although there are no opportunities for Chandhok with the outfit this year, he thinks there is a very real chance of stepping up to a race seat in 2009.

"If you look at it, (Giancarlo) Fisichella is coming towards the end of his career and (Adrian) Sutil is on a one-year extension," Chandhok said in an interview with this week's Autosport magazine.

"You could speculate that both of those seats could be up for grabs at the end of the year. If I can finish in the top five of GP2, I think that would put me in contention.

"Mallya has proved by not signing Narain (Karthikeyan) or me that he is not signing drivers based on nationality. Of course, the fact that I'm Indian is going to help - that's not rocket science - and his ideal scenario is a quick Indian driver.

"But, as we're friends, we've agreed in principle that another year in GP2 is what I need to do, and then we'll see."

Chandhok, who tested for Red Bull Racing last year, has signed to race for reigning champions iSport in GP2 this season. He will also take part in the Asian mini-series.

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