Team Lotus on Thursday made a surprise announcement replacing veteran driver Jarno Trulli with reserve driver Karun Chandhok of India for this weekend’s German Grand Prix.
Lotus said the decision was taken in order to give the Indian a chance to prove himself and gain more F1 racing experience.
“One of the key goals of Team Lotus is to provide a stepladder to the top of world motorsport for talent from all over the world and we have been true to that philosophy since the first days of the team. For F1 to continue to develop globally we need to keep creating new opportunities for talent from around the world to reach the top and Team Lotus will continue to do its best to support that,” said Tony Fernandes, the Team Principal.
“As a young Asian driver Karun faces even more obstacles to achieving his goals than his counterparts from the established motorsport homelands in the West, both from inside and outside F1, and I am very proud to be able to give him this chance on merit,” he added.
Fernandes also thanked Trulli for making way for Chandhok to compete in the German GP.
“I also want to take this chance to thank Jarno for helping make Karun’s opportunity this weekend possible. He has been extremely accommodating in stepping to the side for this race and our commitment to him is unwavering.
“He is a key member of our team and I hope that we can give him a car as soon as possible that allows him to utilise his considerable talent to the full. For this weekend he will be on hand to lend his huge experience and support to Karun,” said Fernandes.
Delighted at the opportunity provided to him, Chandhok said he would be looking to approach the weekend in a realistic frame of mind and give his best.
“Ever since I first joined the team I have been looking forward to this opportunity and I am determined to do my best to repay their (the team’s) faith in me and help the team progress, this season and for many years to come. I am approaching the weekend in a very realistic frame of mind.
“I will be doing my best to push and to make sure I learn as much as possible all weekend, take each session as it comes and work as closely as I can with the engineers and the whole team to do the best job I can,” Chandhok said.
For the 27-year-old from Chennai, the Nurburgring outing will be his 11th Formula One race and first since the British Grand Prix in 2010 before he was dropped by the Hispania team in favour of Japanese Sakon Yamamoto.
Chandhok, who has taken part in the first practice session for Lotus at this year’s Australian, Turkish, European and British Grand Prix, but crashed out of the opening race of the season in Melbourne without completing a lap, said he was extremely excited to be lining up on the grid on Sunday.
“I am excited about lining up on Sunday and I know there will be millions of Indian fans, and Team Lotus fans, who will be behind me and the team, so I will do the best I can to give them something to cheer for,” Chandhok said.
Meanwhile, Trulli, who would be back in the car for the Hungarian Grand Prix, said he would help Chandhok get the most out of the German GP.
“I’m looking forward to working with Karun this weekend and doing whatever I can to help him get the most out of his opportunity in Germany,” said the Italian, who has lined up behind Heikki Kovalainen in eight of the nine races this year.
“It’s great that the team is true to its word of helping develop young talent, so I’ll be there to give him guidance and assistance, in and out of the car,” he added.
Keywords: Formula One 2011