Chandhok: Qualifying was a shakedown

Karun Chandhok admitted that his first qualifying session felt like "a shakedown" ahead of his grand prix debut tomorrow

Chandhok: Qualifying was a shakedown

The 26-year-old GP2 graduate was unable to complete a single lap in free practice after suffering hydraulic problems, and his HRT-Cosworth had never turned a wheel after the building of the car was completed in Bahrain.

Despite the lack of running, the Indian was able to reel off seven laps in Q1 to qualify 24th for his maiden grand prix. He set a time within 1.7 seconds off team-mate Bruno Senna, who had run throughout free practice.

"It was like one of those days on the Silverstone Stowe circuit doing a shakedown, except on a slightly bigger stage," said Chandhok.

"I was quite calm about it. Our objective wasn't to set a laptime. It's just to make sure that there's no leaks and that the engine isn't going to go pop.

"I didn't want to get in anyone's way and got a lot of pickup on the tyres trying to keep out of the way. We're not here to upset anyone; we're just here to to respectable and do the best job that we can."

Although the chances of Chandhok's car making it through the 49-lap race have to be considered slim because his HRT-Cosworth has completed so little mileage, he has been impressed with its reliability once on the track.

"Well, it hasn't broken down," he said. "Once we get on track it does seem to keep going. All of our problems with the hydraulic systems have been leaving the garage in the first place!"

"This morning, an hour before the session it looked OK. Then I got in the car, got strapped in, we fired the engine up at eleven o'clock on the button and it wouldn't go into first gear because it lost hydraulic pressure.

"Once we got going, it seems reliable enough but the hydraulics seem to be a bit of a problem for us and Virgin. I understand that Lotus have done some modifications and managed to make their system work a bit better than ours in terms of reliability."

Problems over the winter meant that the team was unable to complete any pre-season testing, and Chandhok believes that it will not be until the Spanish Grand Prix in May that HRT will be where it should have been for the first race of the season on performance.

"The car that we will have in Barcelona is really the car that should have started the season," said Chandhok. "I'm not sure how many kilometres teams do on a weekend, but we are five or six thousand kilometres behind the game and for the first four weekends we are going to try and claim back at least the mileage.

"For the medium-to-long term, we have good people involved in the team. The potential is there and the investment is quite stable.

"It's good to sit in the briefings with people like Geoff Willis and Toni Cuquerella who have worked with teams fighting for wins and championships recent and it does benefit us. We have to remember that these guys have just started here very recently and it does take time. "

shares
comments
Q & A with Martin Whitmarsh

Previous article

Q & A with Martin Whitmarsh

Next article

McLaren says car not fast enough

McLaren says car not fast enough
Load comments
The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery Plus

The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery

For the second race in a row, Mercedes has ended the first day of track action on top. It’s in a commanding position at the Russian Grand Prix once again – this time largely thanks to Max Verstappen’s upcoming engine-change grid penalty. But there’s plenty to suggest all hope is not lost for the championship leader at Sochi

The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1 Plus

The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2021
The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Plus

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. DAMIEN SMITH brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Plus

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus Plus

How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Plus

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021