Former Hispania Racing Team (HRT) driver Karun Chandhok’s F1 career got a fillip on Tuesday when Team Lotus confirmed him as their reserve driver. The 27-year-old from Chennai had been in talks with the team for months before agreeing to a one-year contract.
Chandhok made his F1 debut with HRT last season but only raced for half of the season before being replaced by Christian Klein. Chandhok spoke to HT following the announcement and admitted that he didn’t even tell close relatives that he was closing in on a reserve driver role with Team Lotus.
“I am a bit superstitious,” Chandhok said. “I don’t like to jinx things before they happen.”
Chandhok will get behind the wheel of Team Lotus’s T128 during the first free practice session of this year’s season opening Australian Grand Prix (GP). Beyond that, he will have to share driving duties on the Fridays of a GP weekend with the team’s three test drivers; Luiz Razia, Davide Valsecchi and Ricardo Teixeira. Despite not landing a race seat, Chandhok said that he was hopeful of his reserve driver role and his association with Team Lotus’ boss Tony Fernandes leading to better things.
“You can’t forget that Fernando Alonso also gave up a race seat with a small team to test for a better team,” Chandhok said referring to double world champion Fernando Alonso giving up a race seat with Minardi to test for Renault in 2002."Sebastian Vettel also started out as a Friday driver," Chandhok said. "So I don’t see a problem with taking two steps back to take one step forward.