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Posts tagged “Karun Chandhok

Karthikeyan Makes Surprise F1 Return With HRT

Narain Karthikeyan has made a surprise return to Formula One after being announced as one of Hispania HRT’s drivers for the 2011 season.

The Indian driver was unveiled as the first racer to be working with the Spanish based squad, who look likely to enter into a second season of racing despite on-going financial concerns.  Karthikeyan first raced in Formula One with Jordan in 2005, before spending a brief time as a Williams test driver.  He has also raced in Superleague and in Audi sportscars.

Team principal Colin Kolles said: “It is a great pleasure for us to have signed Narain Karthikeyan as our race driver for the 2011 Formula 1 World Championship.

“I have known Narain for a long time and he can revert to the experiences he gained when he was competing for Jordan Grand Prix and being test and reserve driver for Williams F1. Narain has also been driving in other racing series and running in one of the legendary Audi sportscars in the Le Mans Series.

“I am sure that his experience and speed will be very useful for the team during the season. We are welcoming Narain to our team and we look forward to working closely with him this year.”

HRT have yet to announce their second driver, but it will not be Karun Chandhok.  He claims he declined the chance to race for the team.  Sources also suggest that Bruno Senna will not be returning as he cannot find enough sponsorship capital.  Nico Hulkenberg and Tonio Liuzzi are both linked to the seat with the minnows.



Yamamoto Retains Hispania Race Seat Ahead Of Chandhok

Sakon Yamamoto has retained the second race seat in the Hispania HRT Team for the Belgian Grand Prix next weekend.

The Japanese driver who has been consistently off the pace in the backmarker team was chosen ahead of popular Indian driver Karun Chandhok who after 3 races out of the seat must be considering his options for a team move.

Hispania have been rumoured to be having large financial difficulties, and the paddock is awash with rumours that Yamamoto, who previously only drove for Spyker and Super Aguri, is meerly racing because of money he can bring to the ailing Spanish squad.

Speaking about his continued spell in the car, Yamamoto said: “I am looking forward to be back in action after the break. In 2007, I was already running in Spa-Francorchamps with Spyker F1.”

Yamamoto - A Golden Handshake...

Yamamoto Retains Hispania Seat Despite Poor Results

Sakon Yamamoto has retained his race seat with Hispania for the Hungarian Grand Prix, despite poor performances across the weekend in both of his previous races.

The Japanese driver, who has previous race experience with Spyker and Super Aguri, was drafted in as a replacement for Bruno Senna at the British Grand Prix.  However last weekend Senna was back for the German Grand Prix, and popular Indian racer Karun Chandhok was dropped.

There has been a furor of speculation surrounding the appointment of Yamamoto, who was a second slower than Tonio Liuzzi in qualifying for the German Grand Prix – worth noting the Italian had smashed his car up only 3 laps in to qualifying too, with people suggesting the decision revolves entirely around money.

If the decision was on driver skill then the other test driver, one of the sports most overlooked men, Christian Klien should be racing.

“I can’t wait to go back to the Hungaroring as I know the circuit already very well from my Formula 1 races with Super Aguri, Spyker F1 and with ART in GP2 series,” said Yamamoto in a team preview.

The team say they are retaining Chandhok, but the chances of him racing again this season are looking slimmer by the day.

Yamamoto In, Chandhok Out – F1 Fans In Uproar as HRT Change Drivers Again

Sakon Yamamoto is set to replace popular Indian F1 driver Karun Chandhok at the German Grand Prix next weekend, as the Japanese driver makes his second appearance this season for HRT F1.

Yamamoto replaced Bruno Senna in surprise circumstances the evening before the British Grand Prix, a move widely suspected to be about sponsorship money.  However it has been revealed in Auto Bild and on popular motoring website Pistonheads that Senna was allegedly replaced because he sent an email criticising team boss Colin Kolles to…wait for it….Colin Kolles himself!  A bit of a mistake from the talented Brazilian.

“After Sakon Yamamoto gave a very positive performance in Silverstone, the team has decided to give the Japanese driver another opportunity to drive the car alongside Bruno Senna,” said the team in a statement.

But now pay driver Yamamoto is racing alongside Senna, there has been uproar between fans on Twitter, with campaigns being started to get Chandhok his seat back.  The man himself though is less concerned about his situation, believing he will race again this season.

“It’s not defined for the rest of the season and I expect to be back in the car at some races,” the Indian driver told Autosport this morning.

“Probably not all of them, but I do expect to be back in the car and racing soon.”

Chandhok Believes Willis Can Save Hispania

Karun Chandhok, the popular Indian driver has said that he believes Geoff Willis will be the saviour of the Hispania team for this season, and almost certainly next season.

Willis, a highly experienced aerodynamicist and engineer has worked with various teams including Red Bull Racing, and was drafted into Hispania HRT to provide the team with advice on how to advance their 2010 car, and help design the 2011 machine.  Willis described the 2010 car as “a dog, absolutely awful” previously.

However Chandhok believes his input is going to be absolutely vital.

Speaking about how he sees the next few months panning out, Chandhok told Autosport Magazine: “As long as there is a car in the pitlane and my seat in it, I will go drag the arse out of it.

“I have to look at it with a slightly long-term view. If the team improves I would love to be here, and if they can give Geoff the opportunity and budget to build a good car for 2011, he could do a good job.

“He has done it in the past, he has a capable team of aero people that he is pulling together from other teams and, if he does have the right financial possibility and the right infrastructure, it won’t be a bad place to be next year.

“I want to be in the best possible place for 2011, and I reckon this team has the potential if Geoff is given the right opportunity – he is key to where we go.”

Speaking about his own performance in an honest and frank interview with Autosport this week, he said he was rather happy.

“At the end of the day, you give me a car that is capable of doing a certain lap time and my job is to do that lap time,” he said. “And as long as I am quicker than Bruno [Senna], as I have been so far, and people see that I am doing well in the car, then it is good for me.

“They put Christian Klien in the car in Spain and within three laps I went quicker than him, with the same tyre and same fuel. So you can argue all you want, but I feel I am extracting the maximum I can out of this car.

“It is really down to the team to develop it. There is only so much I can do.”

There has been significant rumour that Hispania will replace one of their drivers with Christian Klien in the very near future, and although Karun is faster than Bruno Senna you can be your bottom dollar that if one of those two is to lose their seat it will be Chandhok.

Ecclestone Hints Hispania’s Future Is In Doubt

Bernie Ecclestone has cast doubt upon the long and even short term future of the Spanish based team Hispania HRT Racing Team.

The team, born from the ashes of Campos Meta, have had no testing time, launching their car days before the first grand prix in Bahrain.  The team fired up their cars for the first time in the garages ahead of free practice in the gulf state.

The team’s chassis and aero package has been described by both Geoff Wills, a consultant drafted in and test driver Christian Klien as “unworkable, slow and surprisingly bad”.  They have been up to 8 seconds off the pace of the front runners, leading some to describe the cars as dangerous.

Drivers Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok have tried their best, and both look competent racers but the car itself is very poor.  Senna looks tired and bored with the team, and could well be considering a future elsewhere.   The drivers may not be the problem but drafting in experienced Christian Klien and Sakon Yamamoto must mean that the current line up and considering their futures.

With a lack of sponsors, it is unknown where the money to pay for the significant upgrades would come from.

Now in an exclusive interview with a British newspaper about the season so far, Ecclestone states that he is providing aid and assistance to the ailing squad just a handful of races into the season.

“HRT have got problems. I will sort it out,” Ecclestone told the Telegraph in an interview on Friday.

“I’d like to see 12 teams finish the season because they have made the commitment to come in.

“We might lose one of them. But I’m doing my bit to make sure it doesn’t happen.”

Australian GP 2010: Button Wins First Race For McLaren

Jenson Button turned a race of the highest quality today in Australia to win his first race for the McLaren team, on a circuit where he dominated with Brawn last season.

Robert Kubica grabbed a heroic second place for Renault, and Felipe Massa hung on to third mostly thanks to his team mate Fernando Alonso.

Race Review

There was always an outside chance of rain at the Melbourne circuit, and it came just before the race leaving everyone to start on intermediates on a damp, cold circuit.  The race was always going to deliver the excitement that we didn’t get in Bahrain and it came thick from the first corner.

Fernando Alonso got a poor start, in contrast to team mate Felipe Massa.  Alonso came into turn 1 and was punted from the inside by Jenson Button, pushing the Spaniard into Michael Schumacher.  The two former World Champions got damage and were forced to the back of the field, Schumacher by a pit stop and Alonso by the virtue that he was spun 180.

Further down the first lap, Kamui Kobayashi’s Sauber lost its front wing on the straight for no reason, sending him in an out of control slide into Sebastien Buemi and Nico Hulkenberg knocking all 3 out of the race and bringing the safety car out for the first time.

This allowed Alonso and Schumacher to bunch up the back of the field, and Alonso cut through the field brilliantly, while Schumacher got held back and only ended up finishing in 10th place, his overtaking less competent than Alonso’s and certainly less competent than we are used to from the former master.  Is it the car or is it Schumacher?

Massa had got in front of Webber before the safety car, but lost position when it went into the pits, leaving the Brazilian scrapping with Kubica and Rosberg for 3rd, 4th and 5th.   Jenson Button pitted early for some slick tyres, a move which seemed crazy but eventually led him to win the race.  He was setting hot lap times and the rest of the field pitted, but it was poor timing for Massa who ended up well behind the pack of McLaren’s, Red Bull’s, Kubica and Rosberg, while at this point he was being caught by Alonso and Hamilton both of whom had worked their way through the field.

Only the Red Bull’s did not pit, leaving it a bit late.  Vettel got away unscathed, but Webber on cold tyres made a mistake into turn 1, and cars zipped passed him with ease.  However only a handful of laps later, and Massa looked poor once again, with Webber slotting passed and Hamilton following.  Later on a similar move would cause Massa to force team mate Fernando Alonso off the track and to lose positions that he ultimately would not recover.

A scorching Hamilton now hassled Rosberg, whom he passed with ease around the outside into 13.  His charge only cooled by waved yellows from Sebastian Vettel’s stranded Red Bull, the young cocky German had stuffed it into the gravel trap with suspected brake failure.

The crash handed Button the lead, and allowed Kubica second place which would ultimately be the final positions for the two who decided not to pit for fresh slicks.  The optional second pit stop was instigated by Michael Schumacher, who down in 12th decided on some fresh soft Bridgestones and was lapping nearly 2s per lap quicker.  Hamilton and Webber were notable names to pit, but both Ferrari’s did not pit.

Felipe Massa appeared to be holding up Fernando Alonso but it was lucky for the Brazilian his resilient team mate was behind as Alonso began a heroic drive to the finish.  With Hamilton gaining 2seconds or more per lap on the Ferrari’s, Alonso managed to hold off the charge from the British former World Champion and his McLaren nemesis for over 10 laps to the finish a brilliant piece of driving skill which should have been rewarded with a trophy.

But with 2 laps remaining, a hot headed Mark Webber once again clashed with Lewis Hamilton leading them both to finish much further down the points than they should have done, but Alonso’s work was not done as Nico Rosberg charged to the back of the Ferrari but couldn’t make a move stick.

Liuzzi and Barrichello were 7th and 8th, having a quiet race amidst all the action.  Schumacher took the final points position, with Alguersuari just behind the young Spaniard giving the old German a hard time and no doubt learning more than ever before.  De La Rosa was 12th, but the best mentions have to go to Heiki Kovalainen who finished another race for Lotus and Karun Chadhok who managed to FINISH the race for Hispania, unbeliveable!  Congratulations to both teams.

Race Results

Pos Driver Team Time
1 J. Button McLaren Mercedes
2 R. Kubica Renault +12.034
3 F. Massa Ferrari +14.488
4 F. Alonso Ferrari +16.304
5 N. Rosberg Mercedes Benz +16.683
6 L. Hamilton McLaren Mercedes +29.898
7 V. Liuzzi Force India Mercedes +59.847
8 R. Barrichello Williams Cosworth +1.00.536
9 M. Webber Red Bull Renault +1.07.319
10 M. Schumacher Mercedes Benz +1.09.391
11 J. Alguersuari Toro Rosso Ferrari +1.11.301
12 P. De La Rosa Sauber Ferrari +1.14.084
13 H. Kovalainen Lotus Cosworth +2 laps
14 K. Chandhok Hispania HRT +4 laps


Driver Team Lap Reason
T. Glock Virgin 41 Fuel
S. Vettel Red Bull Renault 26 Brake Failure
L. Di Grassi Virgin 25 Hydraulic
A. Sutil Force India 12 Unknown
V. Petrov Renault 10 Accident
B. Senna Hispania HRT 5 Unknown
S. Buemi Toro Rosso Ferrari 1 Accident
N. Hulkenberg Williams 1 Accident
K. Kobayashi Sauber Ferrari 1 Accident
J. Trulli Lotus Cosworth 1 Fuel Pressure

Post Race Interviews

Jenson Button – McLaren Mercedes (1st):  “It is very special.  It has taken me a little while to get to grips inside the car, but the team has been fantastic and welcomed me in.  It is difficult to put it into words, it is a very special feeling and we will take a lot from this. I feel I am building in confidence, and I hope in the next rate we can do something similar as this feels too good.”

Robert Kubica – Renault (2nd):  “To be honest we were not expecting to finish on the podium, for Renault and myself it is a special result. We were pushing hard during the winter and this was the best result we could get for the beginning of the season. This is big thanks to all the guys.  We have to stay realistic, we are not up to pace to finish on the podium normally. We need to keep pushing and I am sure we will manage sooner or later to be on the pace.”

Felipe Massa – Ferrari (3rd):  “I had a fantastic start, without wheelspin, and I saw many cars, especially Fernando and [Mark] Webber having some wheelspin.  I did a very smooth start and passed them in a very good way. I was happy with the start and whole race was very difficult, very slippery and low grip everywhere.  My best result in Australia before was sixth, and in 2007 I had problems in qualifying and started last. It’s not the best race for me in terms of pace, and we lost some positions at the pitstop and a bit on track because of mistakes, so it is fantastic to have one second and one third.”

Fernando Alonso – Ferrari (4th): It was a fantastic result in the end for the team, and for myself as well. So, I was ready to sign before the race for this result – if you win the race you take seven points to your main competitor.  Now, I took 12 points to Vettel, to Michael and to some of the main rivals for the championship. So it has been a much better race in terms of points than Bahrain, if you compare with your main competitor.  I was not convinced that I could recover the positions to get into the points, [but] the car was perfect, and now even thinking through the race and all the analysis – there is the possibility that you can win the race even starting last because the car was so much quicker today than all the others.”

Vitantonio Liuzzi – Force India (7th):  “Another great race and another great result for the team,” said Liuzzi, who charged back from 13th place to score points for the second race in succession.  It’s a confirmation of the pace we showed in Bahrain and the work the team did over the winter.  We worked hard all weekend for this seventh place and it’s a brilliant result at the end of what was a crazy race.”

Michael Schumacher – Mercedes Benz (10th):  “I could have had a good race today so it was a pity that I was hit right after the start,” Schumacher said. “That incident decided my race obviously. But things like that happen and you have to just say ‘that’s racing’.  I had to take the remainder of the race from last position but I have to say that I was still having fun as our pace today was promising and for part of the race, we were going quicker than the top group.  It was nice to pick up a point and we can take that good feeling into the next race where we will look forward to another challenge.”

Heikki Kovalainen – Lotus Cosworth (13th):  “I enjoyed it today and had good fun out there. Our target was to finish the race and from the start we were quite comfortably ahead of the new teams. When [Virgin’s Timo] Glock dropped out I just focused on keeping up a decent rhythm, not making any mistakes and bringing the car home.  Now we go to Malaysia with a good feeling and we’re all looking forward to that.”

Karun Chandhok – Hispania HRT (14th):  “To finish was very difficult today, and all the more satisfying because of that.  I dedicate this race result to all the mechanics and engineers who worked so hard since Bahrain, without any pre-season testing. This is a fantastic day for the team and a great step forward.  I am proud to have ended our first race. We achieved the best result we could do today. We have to keep pushing and working and we will manage to finish even higher.”

Christian Horner – Red Bull Renault Team Boss:  “Ultimately an extremely disappointing day.  Having been in control of the race, the second in succession, Sebastian unfortunately retired with what looks like a wheel related issue (front left), which certainly cost him a comfortable race win today.  It was cruel luck for him for the second year in a row here in Australia.”

Tony Fernandes – Lotus Racing Team Owner:  “I’m disappointed for Jarno, but Heikki did us proud – three places away from a point, and he was keeping pace with most of the other cars throughout the race.  Maybe it would have been nice if three other cars had gone out so we could get a point, but, joking aside, it is good that at this stage of the season we’re already thinking about points. We’re in a nice position for Malaysia.”

Bahrain GP 2010: Vettel Takes Pole On Scintillating Saturday In Bahrain

Sebastian Vettel did just enough with an excellent flying lap in Bahrain to take pole position for tomorrow’s first Grand Prix of 2010.

The German racer started where he left off for Red Bull Racing after a quality session where Red Bull really showed their pace after a poor Friday practice.

“In winter testing no one really knew where he was. It was clear there were four teams were pretty strong, but close to each other.” Vettel said post qualifying,

“To be honest yesterday was a tough day for us, we had not as much running as we hoped for. Another long night, especially mechanics with not much sleep and a lot of long faces, but they were keen this morning to keep pushing.

“I knew we had a great car, but obviously first of all we had to get it together.”

Felipe Massa managed to grab 2nd ahead of Fernando Alonso who will have to settle for third despite having a greater pace over the first two sessions.  The Spaniard was satisfied with Ferrari’s pace.

“I am very happy obviously,” said Alonso. “At is the first race, there are many things to answer in the first race with a long winter with a big difference in fuel loads, in all the tests and yesterday in practice, you never know what the competitors are running.

“We were excited about the first qualifying of the season, so now to have both drivers in the top three means we have a very competitive car. We thought so, but you need to confirm and it has been great, a great day and I think it is some kind of nice feeling to realise that we are in the fight because you never know until qualifying.”

Lewis Hamilton managed 4th place after a poor first lap in Q3, but was significantly faster than Jenson Button his new team mate who had to settle for 8th, behind Rosberg, Webber and Michael Schumacher who didn’t make any big surprises on his race comeback with Mercedes Benz.

It was Kubica and Sutil who rounded out the top 10, the latter along with his team mate Tonio Liuzzi (12th) who made the big surprises with the Force India showing excellent pace – definitely one to watch for the season.

Rubens Barrichello in 11th will get to select his tyre compound andget a set of fresh rubber ahead of the race, giving him a potential advantage at the start of tomorrow’s GP over the top 10.  Team mate Nico Hulkenberg looked to have the measure over Rubens in practice but the old master beat the young German who will start in 13th tomorrw.

The Sauber’s didn’t continue their successful test pace, down in 13th and 16th respectively, jostling with the Toro Rosso’s.

The new teams didn’t make ground but had a fairly successful day considering that it was their first ever qualifying sessions.  Virgin took first blood over Lotus, but the green and yellow Cosworth powered machines looked to be more consistent than Virgin’s racers.  Hispania got both cars out, and despite only a handful of laps they look ok for tomorrow – Karun Chandhok finally getting behind the wheel of an F1 car competitively.

Pos  Driver         Team                   Q1        Q2        Q3       
 1.  Vettel         Red Bull-Renault       1:55.029  1:53.883  1:54.101  
 2.  Massa          Ferrari                1:55.313  1:54.331  1:54.242 
 3.  Alonso         Ferrari                1:54.612  1:54.172  1:54.608 
 4.  Hamilton       McLaren-Mercedes       1:55.341  1:54.707  1:55.217 
 5.  Rosberg        Mercedes               1:55.463  1:54.682  1:55.241 
 6.  Webber         Red Bull-Renault       1:55.298  1:54.318  1:55.284 
 7.  Schumacher     Mercedes               1:55.593  1:55.105  1:55.524 
 8.  Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1:55.715  1:55.168  1:55.672 
 9.  Kubica         Renault                1:55.511  1:54.963  1:55.885 
10.  Sutil          Force India-Mercedes   1:55.213  1:54.996  1:56.309 
11.  Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth      1:55.969  1:55.330 
12.  Liuzzi         Force India-Mercedes   1:55.628  1:55.653 
13.  Hulkenberg     Williams-Cosworth      1:56.375  1:55.857 
14.  de la Rosa     Sauber-Ferrari         1:56.428  1:56.237 
15.  Buemi          Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:56.189  1:56.265 
16.  Kobayashi      Sauber-Ferrari         1:56.541  1:56.270 
17.  Petrov         Renault                1:56.167  1:56.619 
18.  Alguersuari    Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:57.071
19.  Glock          Virgin-Cosworth        1:59.728
20.  Trulli         Lotus-Cosworth         1:59.852
21.  Kovalainen     Lotus-Cosworth         2:00.313
22.  di Grassi      Virgin-Cosworth        2:00.587
23.  Senna          HRT-Cosworth           2:03.240
24.  Chandhok       HRT-Cosworth           2:04.904

Seb Vet

Chandhok Confident HRT Can Score Points

Karun Chandhok, the rookie who will be racing alongside Bruno Senna at HRT this season says he is confident that by the European rounds of the season his team will be within point scoring positions.

Chandhok, who previously raced in GP2 and tested for Red Bull, says he expects initially things will be tough but HRT can prove themselves worthy contenders.

The team looked unlikely to even make the grid until 2 weeks ago when they were bailed out, and then the car launched a few days ago in Spain.

“Our goal early on in the season is to show the world that we are a credible company,” Chandhok told Indian newspaper the Deccan Herald. “The focus is to gain some mileage, reliability and experience in the first season.

“We’ll probably be off the mark in the first four races but from Catalunya, Spain, we will prove a challenge. You never know, we could also bag some points late in the season.”

Chandhok also said he felt no ill feeling towards Vijay Mallya who runs Force India with regards to him not giving him a race seat despite it being sold as a national team.

“He called me and wished me well,” Chandhok said of Mallya. “Force India required something else at that point of time and they have now turned into a very good team.

“I hold nothing against Vijay. I wanted to drive in F1 and it didn’t matter to me which team I drove for. My priority is to stay in F1 and give it my best.

“I will consider driving for Force India if an offer does pop up and if they are still on a high, in terms of racing.”

Hispania Launch Their Car, Chandhok Confirmed

Hispania, the recently re-named Campos Meta team have launched their first ever car last night with just over one week to go before the first round of the 2010 season in Bahrain.

The team, which was saved from extinction before its first race by businessman Jose Ramon Carabante, got re-named HRT-F1 a couple of days ago and confirmed Karun Chandhok as its second driver yesterday morning before displaying its car yesterday evening.

The machine has a chassis constructed by Dallara and engines by Cosworth, with be managed by new team principal Colin Kolles and Bruno Senna will bring back the eternal namesake to Formula One when he steps into the cockpit alongside Chandhok.

The car itself lacks sponsors, and is finished in a grey paint with a feint colouring of Spanish flag.  Embratel is the only confirmed sponsor thus far through their deal with Senna.

“I am excited by our driver line-up and the amazing effort and passion I have witnessed from our entire team to get us to this point,” said Colin Kolles during a team presentation in Murcia, Spain.

“We have all tools in our hands to become the most successful new team in the F1 paddock this year.”

“There are always development and human issues within a team, but we are close to achieving our breakthrough in F1 and the coming season will be a massive learning curve for us working together.

“It would be a dream to win our first point in our first race, but we are focused on taking things one step at a time and building on our competitiveness as the season goes on.”