Chandhok sets sights on reserve role

Karun Chandhok says he would be willing to sit on the sidelines as a reserve driver this year if it helped secure him a race seat in the longer term

Chandhok sets sights on reserve role

The Indian, who made his debut for HRT last season, has been exploring other options for several months now as he looks to continue in grand prix racing - and the focus has been put back on his plans following compatriot Narain Karthikeyan signing a deal to join his former outfit.

Chandhok has recently been linked with the reserve driver role at Team Lotus, and he admits that he would be willing to go down that route if it helped him secure a race drive for 2012 and beyond.

"I want something for the medium and long term - not just for 2011," Chandhok told AUTOSPORT on Friday. "What I do in 2012 and 2013 is important. If that means taking a back seat, as reserve driver next year, then so be it - a bit like what Paul di Resta did in 2010. As long as it is somewhere further up the grid, then that is the best option."

Chandhok said he never entered into detailed talks with HRT for this year, and his efforts were always on joining a new team.

"I wasn't chasing the HRT drive in 2011," he explained. "The team didn't make much progress last year and, at the time when we last spoke to them, it didn't sound like there was a huge amount in the pipeline for this year. I had one year with them, and I am grateful and will always be grateful to them for getting me a foot in the door. But now I'm looking elsewhere."

Chandhok says that he remains in discussions with parties about his 2011 plans, but did admit that a tie-up with Team Lotus would be of interest to him - and beneficial to the Hingham-based outfit and its team principal Tony Fernandes.

"I like Tony's attitude about building an Asian team," he said. "He has been quite vocal about it, and talked in the past about building a team with Asian drivers and staff. For me to go there would be a big benefit to him too, especially as AirAsia is now flying to India.

"The team progressed well last year with its structure. There are a lot of good people there, and they invested well for the future. It seems like a good place to be for the immediate future - but at the moment nothing is done. Everything is still up in the air."

Chandhok also reckoned that the presence of Karthikeyan, whose deal with HRT was announced yesterday, in F1 will be a huge boost to the sport in India ahead of its inaugural grand prix this year.

"The more Indians we can have around F1, the better it is for the sport," said Chandhok.

When asked if it was good or bad for him that there was another Indian on the grid, Chandhok said: "It makes no difference to me.

"It has been a pain in terms of all the telephone calls I have had today about it, but apart from that it makes no difference to me. The financial backing he has got is a long-term sponsor of his, so it doesn't take anything away from me, and he has taken a seat which I wasn't interested in."

shares
comments
Senna fears 2011 F1 hopes are fading

Previous article

Senna fears 2011 F1 hopes are fading

Next article

The challenges facing F1's venues

The challenges facing F1's venues
Load comments
Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material Plus

Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material

As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground

How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull Plus

How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull

Mercedes has been on a roll of late in the ultra-tight fight to win the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. It started off well in practice at Austin for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, but Red Bull got closer as Friday unfolded and even seemed to find an edge in one critical area of what seems set to be another close contest

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen Plus

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen

The 2021 Formula 1 title battle is finely poised with six races remaining, as just six points separate championship leader Max Verstappen from seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. In such a closely-fought season, the outcome could hinge on several small factors playing the way of Red Bull or Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021
Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed? Plus

Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed?

Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll is determined to make the group a billion-dollar business. MARK GALLAGHER analyses his latest play – bringing former McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh into the fold

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021
Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner Plus

Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner

Stepping up to F1 in 1962, Jo Siffert shone with Rob Walker Racing Team and BRM before his career was abruptly ended in a fatal crash at Brands Hatch in 1971. On the 50th anniversary of his death, Autosport recalls the career of an F1 and sportscar ace gone before his time

Formula 1
Oct 21, 2021
What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat Plus

What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat

OPINION: Max Verstappen is back in the lead of the 2021 Formula 1 drivers’ championship, with the season’s final flyaway events set to get underway in the USA this weekend. But a defensive stance he’s recently adopted could have a lasting impact for the Red Bull driver when it comes to his chances of defeating Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 21, 2021
The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest Plus

The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest

Despite appearing to adjust to life as a Ferrari driver with relative ease, it was far from straightforward under the surface for Carlos Sainz Jr. But, having made breakthroughs in rather different routes at the Russian and Turkish races, he’s now targeting even greater feats for the rest of the Formula 1 season

Formula 1
Oct 20, 2021
The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Plus

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Autosport's technical consultant

Formula 1
Oct 18, 2021