Q & A with Karun Chandhok

He may not be racing in India after all, but Karun Chandhok is still one of the biggest attractions of the weekend

Q & A with Karun Chandhok

AUTOSPORT talked to the Team Lotus driver ahead of his outing in Friday practice.

Q. You've said before that you almost couldn't believe that India has a grand prix. Now that you are here and all of the teams are here, set up and ready to go, is it a good feeling?

Karun Chandhok: It's certainly a bit more believable! When I cycled the track yesterday, I had an hour away from my phone and emails and TV cameras and newspapers so it was nice to just soak it all up. It was just Bruno Senna and me. We cycled around talking about what line you would take here, what would you do there. It feels a bit more real now.

Q. The track is all ready, but there are a few rough edges. Was there any time when you feared that it wouldn't be ready in time?

KC: No. I wasn't worried about the track at all. There were a few times when the facilities in terms of the paddock were a bit delayed but full credit to the Jaypee Group guys. We're here, it is a bit rough around the edges but everything that matters is ready. The garages are ready, the track is ready, race control is ready. Whatever else happens, the action on track will not stop. So full credit to them, they got their priorities right.

Q. So when we come back next year all of those rough edges will be smoothed out?

KC: This is now a working circuit. There will be driver days, there will be an academy setup, there are already 16 manufacturer days booked in the next year. There will be national racing events happening, so this will be a fully functioning circuit. It's not going to be a white elephant.

Q. You're only driving in Friday morning practice. What can you achieve in that session - do you want to be first out of the pits?

KC: I don't care so much about being first out of the pit-lane although it might be a nice story. But once the session starts, it's the same as being in Suzuka or Korea or Silverstone. You just have to get on with the programme, do the best job that you can.

Q. Is it going to be harder once you've got out of the car after morning practice because you wont' be on the grid for the inaugural Indian Grand Prix?

KC: It's bit like Santa Claus has given me a present in the morning but I have to give it back in the morning. Everyone knows how I feel, but the professional thing to do is to be a team player, keep smiling and do the best job that I can with the opportunities that I'm given.

Q. You've talked about wanting to be involved with this team in the long-term. What's your future?

KC: We'll see. I need to sit down with Tony Fernandes and discuss it and that's something that we need to do away from the track. We'll discuss it. I'd like to still work with him because I believe that he is committed to building up Asian talent and Asian drivers. We'll see what the future holds.

Q. Are you surprised with the amount of coverage there has been in the Indian media about you not being in the car?

KC: I think a lot of people underestimated how passionate the Indian media are about sportsmen. The media love to see their sportsmen doing well. So many people in the paddock have come up to me and said that they can't believe how much coverage I have had. That shows that the power that Indian sportsmen can have and the respect that we have from the national media and the fans. People underestimated how much seeing Indian sportsmen doing well means to this country. Because of that, I'm not surprised about the amount of coverage, but I am hugely appreciative of it. I had 2200 Tweets in five hours after the announcement! It's fantastic and I really appreciate.

Q. Is that a positive sign for F1 in India? It proves there is interest here to build on?

KC: If you speak to the Indian media, they are knowledgeable. The fans are as well. They read what's written and have a decent knowledge and are very passionate about it. The Indian Grand Prix has been an eye-opener for people. I've always been very conscious about the fact that I am an ambassador for motorsport in India and I need to go out there and promote the sport and share my knowledge and enthusiasm.

shares
comments
Formula 1 did the right thing in coming to India, says Ross Brawn
Previous article

Formula 1 did the right thing in coming to India, says Ross Brawn

Next article

Button says risk remains inherent in motorsport as he pays tribute to Dan Wheldon

Button says risk remains inherent in motorsport as he pays tribute to Dan Wheldon
Load comments
How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series Plus

How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series

The inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was a race packed full of incident as Formula 1 2021's title contenders repeatedly clashed on track. Lewis Hamilton won out over Max Verstappen to level the scores heading into next weekend's Abu Dhabi finale, as Jeddah turned F1 into a drama series

The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance Plus

The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance

Dropped by Red Bull last season, Alexander Albon has fought back into a Formula 1 seat with Williams. ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains what Albon has done to earn the place soon to be vacated by the highly rated George Russell

Formula 1
Dec 5, 2021
How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes Plus

How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton

Formula 1
Dec 3, 2021
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Plus

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Plus

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Plus

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Autosport's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer explains

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated Plus

Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated

Humble yet blisteringly quick, Charles Leclerc is the driver Ferrari sees as its next
 world champion, and a rightful heir to the greats of Ferrari’s past – even though, by the team’s own admission, he’s not the finished article yet. Here's why it is confident that the 24-year-old can be the man to end a drought stretching back to 2008

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2021
The downside to F1's show and tell proposal Plus

The downside to F1's show and tell proposal

Technology lies at the heart of the F1 story and it fascinates fans, which is why the commercial rights holder plans to compel teams to show more of their ‘secrets’. STUART CODLING fears this will encourage techno-quackery…

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2021