Motor : GP2 champion team signs up Karun

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BIG PLANS: Karun Chandok reckons his association with Red Bull Racing would give him a toe-hold on the F-1 scene.
BIG PLANS: Karun Chandok reckons his association with Red Bull Racing would give him a toe-hold on the F-1 scene.

Principal Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Karun Chandhok has taken another step towards his Formula 1 dream as he signed up with the Red Bull junior team programme, after his successful test drive with the UK-based team this November.

“My sights are on F1 for sure, but right now I want to take it step by step. For me, the GP2 series, where the F1 managers scout for new talent, is the right way to approach the dream,” Chandhok said at a media briefing here on Wednesday.

Chandhok, who had an impressive GP2 debut season with Durango in 2007, will continue at GP2 but with the defending champion, I-Sport International. The UK-based company, which secured both the drivers and team championship in 2007, has signed Chandhok on for the 2008 GP2 season.

The Indian racing champion’s team-mate will be the highly-rated Bruno Senna, the nephew of the legendary Ayrton Senna.

“This is the best period for Indian motor sport. Narain has won the A1 GP event in China, there is one Indian-owned F1 team and now there is a talk of India hosting an F1 Grand Prix in the near future. This all adds up to increase interest both among the public and the sponsors,” said Chandhok.

This year Chandhok became the first Indian winner in a GP2 race and scored regular points through the second half of the year with Durango, a team that was not a recognised front-runner. Chandhok said he would try and shape up for 2009 by participating in both the GP2 series and the all new GP2 Asia series. “The experience gained here should come good for me as I would like to aim for F1 in the 2009 season,” he added.

His deal with Red Bull is set to open up more opportunities for Chandhok in 2008, something that will surely help him gain a foothold in F1. After his November test drive in Spain, Chandhok was rewarded with entry into the Red Bull junior team programme after F1 driver Mark Webber was impressed with his technical knowledge.

“Webber was very receptive and after our meeting he tested the new Red Bull car and was happy with the points that I had mentioned in my report,” said Chandhok.

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