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
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.