Karun Chandhok, on Thursday, confirmed that he has signed with F-1 newcomer Hispania Racing F-1 team for the upcoming season.
The Chennai-born driver, who now becomes the second Indian driver in F-1 after Narain Karthikeyan, will now make his debut at the season opener in Bahrain in less than three weeks' time.
“This is just an unbelievable feeling! I am absolutely thrilled to be able to fulfill a lifelong dream of breaking into F-1. We've been working for so many years for this opportunity and now that we've finally made it, it feels a bit surreal, to be honest. Only when I get to Bahrain, I think, will it fully sink in that I am going to be on the same grid as world champions like Schumacher and Alonso,” said Chandhok.
“My family and I have had a very stressful time this winter, and we would especially like to thank Mr. Sunder Mulchandani, Dr. Colin Kolles (Hispania Racing F-1 Team Team Principal) and Mr. Bernie Ecclestone, without whom all this would have been a distant dream,” he added.
Chandhok thanked his dad for his efforts. “He has been working really hard since August last year to make this happen. With an Indian GP scheduled for 2011, F-1 is quickly becoming one of the most popular sports in India and this is a proud moment not only for me but for my country as well.”
Vicky Chandhok said: “It is overwhelming. The whole family is filled with joy on hearing the news.”
“I am a born patriot. So is my family. The name India by itself keeps us all going. And, to have an Indian on the F-1 grid is certainly a proud moment for us,” he added.
He said the sacrifices made by the family over the years were finally bearing fruit. “I thank God for it. But for me, it is just another day in the office.”
Kolles said he was proud to have Chandok in his team. “I am delighted that we can count on such a promising young talent as Karun Chandhok. As a front-runner in the GP2 series I am confident Karun will step up to the F1 challenge and contribute to a successful debut season for both him and the team.”
Narain said: “I am happy for him and I wish him all the best.”