Chandhok: New team critics are unfair

Formula 1 rookie Karun Chandhok thinks it unfair that the new teams are on the receiving end of criticism that their slow speed could cause trouble in Bahrain this weekend

Chandhok: New team critics are unfair

With the new Virgin Racing, Lotus and HRT outfits likely to be several seconds off the pace on their F1 debuts this weekend, a number of F1 figures - including Felipe Massa - have questioned the benefits they will bring the sport.

However, Chandhok thinks that anyone criticising the new teams for being so slow that they will cause a danger should look at the history books - which show that there have been much bigger speed differentials between the front and the back of the grid than will likely be present now.

Speaking to AUTOSPORT in Bahrain about his reaction to the comments about the speed differentials, Chandhok said: "In all honesty, I can appreciate these concerns to some extent - because if I was in their situation then I would be concerned as well. The last thing you want in Q3, on the last lap when the circuit has cleaned up, is to get someone in your way.

"But first of all I would be amazed if any of the new teams get to Q3. And secondly, at the end of the day I am quite fortunate in that I have a great respect and a great sense of history in F1 - and I remember not so long ago, just look at the early 2000s, the gap between the front and the back wasn't like it is now.

"Then if go further back, look at 1997 for example when Jacques Villeneuve was on pole [in Australia] with Heinz-Harald Frentzen was alongside him, they still had the same five or six seconds gap.

"So, all those guys [complaining] are only thinking of the last two or three years. But F1 is not about the last two years if you look back in history, which I do. Maybe they need reminding of that."

At the 1997 Australian Grand Prix, Villeneuve's pole position time was 6.603 seconds faster than the slowest man on the grid - Arrows driver Pedro Diniz.

Chandhok is under no illusions about how difficult it will be for his new HRT team in Bahrain, and thinks the outfit's season will only really get going from Barcelona onwards.

"It is going to be extremely tough. We haven't even done a shakedown - so it's no secret it is going to be a bloody tough weekend," he said. "I think if you look on the plus side, at least Dallara are a respected [racing] car manufacturer and they have built cars before, so we should be in a slightly better position than if it was with someone else doing it independently. And the people involved are good people.

"Starting on the Dallara side, there are aero guys like Ben [Agathangelou], then we have someone like Geoff Willis on board. There are good engineers as well - they are all people who have done F1 recently. So in that respect, looking at it for the medium to long term, I am optimistic that we can get better. But it is no secret that this weekend is going to be tough."

shares
comments
Massa expects best start in years

Previous article

Massa expects best start in years

Next article

Q & A with Karun Chandhok

Q & A with Karun Chandhok
Load comments
The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Plus

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

The figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again in F1 2021 Plus

The figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again in F1 2021

OPINION: An interloper squad got amongst the title contenders during Formula 1’s street-circuit mini-break, where Red Bull left with the points lead in both championships. But, as the campaign heads back to purpose-built venues once again, how the drivers of the two top teams compare in one crucial area will be a major factor in deciding which squad stays in or retakes the top spot

Formula 1
Jun 16, 2021
Why Alfa's boss is ready for the task of securing a stronger F1 future Plus

Why Alfa's boss is ready for the task of securing a stronger F1 future

Two tenth places in recent races have lifted Alfa Romeo to the head of Formula 1's 'Class C' battle in 2021, but longer-term the Swiss-based squad has far loftier ambitions. With the new 2022 rules set to level out the playing field, team boss Frederic Vasseur has good reason to be optimistic, as he explained to Autosport in an exclusive interview

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021
How Barnard’s revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction Plus

How Barnard’s revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction

The MP4/1 was pioneering by choice, but a McLaren by chance. STUART CODLING relates the tangled (carbonfibre) weaves which led to the creation of one of motor racing’s defining cars

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021
Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool Plus

Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool

Windtunnel work forms the bedrock of aerodynamic development in Formula 1. But as PAT SYMONDS explains, advances in virtual research are signalling the end of these expensive and complicated relics

Formula 1
Jun 13, 2021
Why polarising Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour Plus

Why polarising Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour

The newspapers, naturally, lingered over Max Mosley’s tainted family history and niche sexual practices. But this is to trivialise the legacy of a big beast of motor racing politics. STUART CODLING weighs the life of a man whose work for safety on both road and track has saved hundreds of thousands of lives, but whose penchant for cruelty remains problematic and polarising

Formula 1
Jun 12, 2021
Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture Plus

Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture

Sergio Perez has spent most of his career labouring in Formula 1’s midfield, wondering whether he’d ever get another shot at the big time. Red Bull has handed him that chance and, although life at the top is tough, the Baku winner is doing all the right things to get on terms with Max Verstappen, says BEN ANDERSON

Formula 1
Jun 11, 2021
What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight Plus

What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight

Formula 1 has been tracking car performance using timing loops mounted every 200m around each circuit – to the extent that it was able to anticipate Ferrari’s 'surprise’ pole in Monaco. PAT SYMONDS explains what this means for this season and beyond

Formula 1
Jun 10, 2021