Indian driver Karun Chandhok will make his debut for Team Lotus at this weekend's German Grand Prix. The 27-year-old will replace Italian veteran Jarno Trulli for the race at the Nurburgring, and will partner Finn Heikki Kovalainen.
Chandhok raced in 10 GPs for the Hispania Racing Team last season, before he was unceremoniously dumped prior to, ironically, the German Grand Prix. The Chennai-native was overjoyed on his return to the grid. "I've been waiting for this moment since the season began. To finally get a full weekend of racing will be great," he told HT from the Nurburgring.
He added that it would be especially helpful for him to get a feel of the car in race conditions before the inaugural Indian Grand Prix in the final weekend of October. "These days there is virtually no in-season testing so that means a race weekend is the only place where you can drive the car for an extended period. This will also be a great learning experience."
Chandhok was also all praise for Trulli. "Jarno is a thorough professional. I know how it feels to give up a race seat and sit on the sidelines during a race weekend, it's not a nice feeling. But, Jarno was very accommodating. He's here with the team and we shared a few laughs, he also gave me a few tips. We shared a good camaraderie last season even though we weren't in the same team."
While Chandhok hasn't been guaranteed a race seat for the Indian GP, the grapevine is abuzz that he will line up on the grid in India. However, he said a race seat for the Indian GP is still not a given. "I will only be filling in for Jarno for this weekend. He will be back for the Hungarian GP. As for any other races, let's wait and see."
Lotus team principal Tony Fernandes said in a statement, "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."