Tag Archives: Karun Chandhok

Chandhok: Hispania to rotate drivers

HRT driver Karun Chandhok has said that he respects the decision of the team to replace him with Sakon Yamamoto for the German Grand Prix, and went on to say that the Hispania team will continue to rotate its drivers for the rest of the season.

After Bruno Senna was relieved of his race seat for the British Grand Prix, rumours began to circulate about a dispute between him and Colin Kolles. However, since then, it has emerged that the team needs sponsorship money, which has since resulted in Chandhok pushed aside for Yamamoto for next week’s German GP.

Both Chandhok and Senna will be forced to rotate their driver seats with Yamamoto and Klien

Both Chandhok and Senna will be forced to rotate their driver seats with Yamamoto and Klien

It has been revealed that Yamamoto will appear more times across the year, with other test driver Christian Klien also making an appearance somewhere down the line. Karun, however, was not downbeat, saying:

“The team have taken the decision that they’re going to rotate 
drivers between the four of us that are on contracts with the 
team.

At the end of the day we’re not fighting for the World 
Championship or for points and, with the current testing 
regulations, it’s quite difficult for them to evaluate 
drivers during a season. 

All four of us are Superlicence drivers, so we can’t do the 
young driver days at the end of the season, and we also 
missed the pre-season testing. 

It’s a team decision and I’ve got to respect that.”

The problem is that neither Senna or Chandhok had any idea this would happen at the start of the season. It’s very unfair on them, as they have been forced to deal with a dog of a car without any testing. While Klien and Yamamoto both have personal sponsors to bring money to the team, it will cost them a huge amount of time in the development race.

Just look at Minardi for inspiration as to how to run a small F1 team. They resisted using pay drivers, produced a future world champion (Alonso), and were famous for years of fighting away at the back. HRT is as far away as they could get, as they rotate drivers just to stay afloat.

If HRT continue to use pay drivers into next season, I’m afraid to say that they will never get away from the back of the field.

Yamamoto to replace Chandhok for German GP

After the mess of Bruno Senna being replaced for the British Grand Prix weekend, it has now emerged that team-mate Karun Chandhok will be replaced by Sakon Yamamoto for the German Grand Prix. In their statement, HRT also implied that Chandhok may make way for Yamamoto several times more during the season.

Sakon Yamamoto will replace Karun Chandhok at the German Grand Prix

Sakon Yamamoto will replace Karun Chandhok at the German Grand Prix

After Bruno Senna’s seat being handed to Yamamoto in Silverstone for “disciplinary reasons”, as well as the financial benefits of Yamamoto, Karun’s replacement is certainly about the money and not the driver. However, the HRT team still tried to claim that Yamamoto was there because of more than money:

"After Sakon Yamamoto gave a very positive performance in 
Silverstone [sic], the team has decided to give the Japanese 
driver another opportunity to drive the car alongside Bruno 
Senna. Karun Chandhok is still part of the Hispania Racing, 
HRT F1 Team family and is likely to be in the car at some 
later races this season."

Where do we start? Yamamoto was last in qualifying, and was in last place in the race in Silverstone. Although Karun Chandhok was only 1 place ahead of Sakon, he had sustained bodywork damage at the start of the race.

Despite this, Sakon’s sponsorship was enough to convince Colin Kolles to replace Chandhok for the German GP. However, if you look at the team statement above, you can see that the team states: “Karun Chandhok … is likely to be in the car at some later races this season.” This heavily implies that Yamamoto will be taking more races out of Chandhok’s hands, purely so that HRT can survive on the extra sponsorship money.

In my opinion, this is a disaster. Even if HRT are gaining money from this, they are losing whatever fans they had, by juggling their drivers just to stay alive. I’m not annoyed at Yamamoto, it’s Kolles who is at fault here, as it is completely unfair to the drivers. They turned up in Bahrain to get into a car that hadn’t turned a wheel, struggled at the back for 4 months, then have their faith rewarded by being replaced by a worse driver with more money. Then, after one race, they find out that they will be replaced more times just for the team to stay afloat. This is an absolute joke.

Update: The BBC are reporting that Christian Klien is being considered to take part in a (or several) Grand Prix this year, at the expense of either Chandhok or Senna of course. Just brilliant.

Senna claims HRT chassis is damaged

Bruno Senna's recent poor qualifying may have been caused by chassis damage

Bruno Senna's recent poor qualifying may have been caused by chassis damage

Bruno Senna believes that his HRT chassis may be carrying a problem, which has been causing him difficulties in recent races.

His team-mate, Karun Chandhok, out-qualified him in Spain by 4 tenths of a second, and Bruno believes that this may have been caused by damage to the chassis. He is quoted by Brazil’s Globo as saying:

"There is something wrong at the back and we have still not found 
what it is. I only know that it has been eating up the tyres.
Perhaps the floor is loose, we don't know, but whatever it is, it's 
serious. If we don't find what it is then it is possible I will 
have to make several pitstops, because the tyres are not going to 
last. (referring to Spanish GP)"

It may well explain why Chandhok has out-qualified him in 2 out of the last 3 races. If it was the case, I would be amazed as how to the HRT mechanics haven’t spotted it yet, especially if it with the floor as he suggests.

Driving the worst car on the grid must be extremely challenging for Senna and Chandhok, and problems like this really don’t help at all. For Monaco next weekend, their critical lack of downforce will mean they will almost certainly be stuck at the back.

Ferrari fined, while Petrov, Di Grassi, Chandhok and Glock receive penalties

The FIA has handed out punishments to different drivers and teams, most of which were for gearbox-related incidents.

First of all, both Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi were given 5-place penalties, for Virgin failing to notify the FIA of the gearbox ratios they would be using within 2 hours of the end of Friday Practice. This means that Glock and Di Grassi will start 22nd and 23rd.

Next, Karun Chandhok and Vitaly Petrov also received 5-place grid penalties, this time for unscheduled gearbox changes. Vitaly Petrov changed his gearbox after his crash in Saturday morning practice, but it is unknown when Chandhok had his gearbox replaced. Either way, their gearboxes were supposed to last 4 races, so a 5-place grid penalty was inevitable.

Finally, Ferrari were fined $20,000 after qualifying, after Fernando Alonso was released unsafely into the path of Nico Rosberg. Nico was forced to brake sharply to avoid a collision, and nearly his his back left wheel against the pit wall in the process. The FIA concluded that the Ferrari mechanics failed to ensure that the coast was clear before releasing Alonso out of the garage.

You can view the FIA’s report on the two Virgin drivers here.

You can view the FIA’s report on the Alonso-Rosberg incident here.

HRT targeting Australian race finish

Colin Kolles (left), team principal of HRT

Colin Kolles (left), team principal of HRT

After the somewhat dissapointing end to HRT’s Bahrain Grand Prix, the team are looking for improvements ahead of the Australian Grand Prix next weekend. According to team principal Colin Kolles, the team is targeting a race finish. He said:

“We have worked extremely hard since the Bahrain season opener. We have worked 
long hours and successfully with Bridgestone, Cosworth and Xtrac learned from 
our first laps with the car and found a good basis from which to start
preparation for our second Grand Prix in Australia in a few days.

We have successfully repaired the damage sustained by Karun Chandhok’s car and 
focused on building our car’s reliability. Our goal is to improve steadily and 
the next step is to work towards our first race finish. I am confident we will 
achieve this goal very soon and having seen how we came together as a team in 
Bahrain I can see just how much potential and commitment we have.”
Bruno Senna, before a radiator leak causes him to retire

Bruno Senna, before a radiator leak causes him to retire

First driver Bruno Senna did get 17 laps in the race, but then the car overheated thanks to a radiator leak, causing retirement. However, the Brazilian is happy with the team’s performance in Bahrain, an hopes to build on that in Melbourne:

“We need to continue building on what we achieved in Bahrain. We put two cars 
together and ran successfully in Bahrain. Now we must continue to work as a 
team. I came early to Australia to acclimatise to the time difference. I love 
Australia more and more, as I spend more time here! I have already driven on 
the Melbourne track, back in 2006.

I did the F3 support race for F1 back then and had a fairly successful weekend. 
I won! Now, I must work with the team to continue learning about the car. I 
have enjoyed working long hours with the team so far and I will be giving my
all as I really want to progress and guarantee them good results.”
Karun Chandhok just after his crash on Lap 2

Karun Chandhok just after his crash on Lap 2

Meanwhile, Karun Chandhok had a much harder time. He wasn’t able to run the car in Friday practice thanks to technical problems. He drove the car for the first time in qualifying, and was only 1.7 seconds behind his team-mate after only 2 laps in the car, which is pretty impressive. He still wasn’t used to the car, however, and crashed on Lap 2 of the race. Chandhok is now looking forward to the race in Australia:

“I am really looking forward to my second F1 race this weekend. I have never 
driven in Melbourne, but I am a very quick learner. I was able to work on a 
team’s simulator before the Grand Prix so that will help my familiarisation a 
little bit! Our next step with the team’s engineers is to make the car 
reliable for the race. The secret of good racing preparation is to complete 
as many laps as possible on Friday to see where we are with the car. Finishing the
race would be a fantastic achievement we will strive for.”

With the complete lack of track time, HRT did what they could in Bahrain. I don’t actually think they will, nor do I expect them to, finish in Melbourne, because of the track’s car-breaker record. Still, if they can set consistent laps for about 20 laps or so, then I would be happy with them. Naturally, with much more track time, I’m hoping for at least one finish each from Lotus and Virgin. All of this will change by Barcelona  (Race 5), and I will be expecting race finishes by all three teams by then.

Indian Grand Prix approved for 2011

The FIA have confirmed today that, subject to the approval of the 2011 calendar, the Indian Grand Prix should feature in Formula 1 next year.

Bernie Ecclestone had already said that the Indian GP would start next year, and today informed the FIA that he would be putting it up on the 2011 calendar. A statement from the FIA reads as follows:

"Subject to final approval of the calendar by the World Council, Mr 
Bernie Ecclestone, President of FOM (Formula One Management, F1 commercial
rights holder), has informed the FIA that India will host a Formula One
event in 2011."

This will tie up nicely with the fact that India has just got their second Formula 1 driver, Karun Chandhok of HRT. He follows Narain Karthikeyan, who raced for Jordan in 2005.

The Indian Grand Prix is being planned to take place at the Jaypee Greens Sports City. This is an absolutely massive 2500 acre site, which will feature huge residential estates, villas etc, as well as sports stadiums, commercial districts, and of course a motor racing track. This is all the result of a huge economic boom that India is having at the moment. Have a look for yourself at http://www.jaypeegreens-sportscity.com/.

HRT F1 car launched, and Chandhok confirmed

The HRT 2010 car

The HRT 2010 car

The HRT Formula 1 team have unveiled their F1 car, and confirmed their second driver as Karun Chandhok, only 8 days before the season begins in Bahrain.

The car was entirely designed by Dallara. However, when getting the car, HRT then proceeded to do absolutely nothing in terms of an interesting livery. First of all, it’s grey and greyer. Then, there are no sponsors at all, apart from Bruno Senna’s sponsor Embratel. I’ll look forward to not seeing it at all in Bahrain, as hopefully the cameras will focus on something more interesting, and quite a bit quicker as well.

On a slightly nicer note, Karun Chandhok was revealed alongside the new HRT car as their second driver for the season. Colin Kolles had this to say about the Indian driver:

"I am very pleased to use the Murcia site to officially unveil our
car livery today. We also complete the driver's team line-up with
the Indian Karun Chandhok at the wheel of the car for our first ever
season.

We have been very impressed with Karun's performance in GP2. India
is a great country. It will be great for the sport to have an Indian
driver on the grid for the first Indian Grand Prix. Murcia is part
of the roots of the team.

Everything is now in place after an impossible race against time to
register the team's name and I truly believe that we have an
excellent platform to build on and move forward for a strong 2010
performance. Now, we need to work together. We need to learn
together and keep developing as a team."

The team chairman, Jose Ramon Carabante, added:

"The new HRT F1 Team, Hispania Racing F1 Team is born in Murcia. I
am proud to welcome you in Murcia where the team has its roots and
to have given to my country the pride of the first ever Spanish
Formula 1 team.

The name of the team contains the word Hispania, which is not only
the name of one of my companies, but Hispania was also the Roman name
for the Iberian Peninsula. That reflects now our team's new identity.
2010 will be a major debut for the team and drivers at the wheel of
our HRT F1 Team car."

Karun Chandhok is also the latest driver to feature on Twitter. His profile is available here.

This signing also means that there are now no more seats to fill for the 2010 season, with only a few reserve places yet to be confirmed. The disallowance of Stefan GP means that Jacques Villeneuve is unable to race in 2010, alongside Jose Maria Lopez, who was without a drive after the collapse of USF1.

Video of the launch:

Pictures of the new HRT car (more will be added soon):

Campos to become Hispania Racing, and Lopez linked with team

Campos Grand Prix, whose name will soon be changed

Campos Grand Prix, whose name will soon be changed

The Spanish media are reporting today that Campos Meta is poised to be renamed as Hispania Racing F1 Team, after the takeover by Jose Ramon Carabante 2 weeks ago. As well as this, Karun Chandhok is still expected to partner Bruno Senna, with Jose Maria Lopez now linked with the reserve seat.

With Adrian Campos no longer involves with the team that has his name on it, a change of team name was imminent. The Spanish news agency EFE is saying that this name change will be implemented before the season starts.

It is also being rumoured that Carabante will present his plans for 2010 in the Victor Vellegas audotorium in Murcia on Thursday. It may be the case that the drivers are confirmed here as well. While they are only rumours, the Lopez story seems to have truth behind it, as Victor Rosso, part of his managment team, explains:

"There are many chances that he will become the reserve driver at
Campos.

"At the moment, Felipe McGough (Manager for López) is finalising
details to release him from his US F1 contract and retrieve his money
- it all now depends on how the termination of the contract goes.

"We have made it clear to the Americans that he should not be treated
like another businessman but instead like a person who has earned that
money thanks to much effort and that, furthermore, this is the last
chance he will have to race in Formula 1."
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 55 other followers