Reasons Why I Thought Karun Chandhok Would Drive In The Indian Grand Prix

Yesterday the news got confirmed – that Karun Chandhok would not be racing in the first-ever Indian Grand Prix. (Read post: Team Lotus Hand A Raw Deal To Karun Chandhok) However, in the weeks leading up to the race, I had a feeling that Karun might get a late-call to replace either one of the Team Lotus drivers and drive in his home race. Here are the reasons:

  1. TI Cycles appointed Karun Chandhok as their Brand Ambassador in the week leading up to the Indian Grand Prix to promote their carbon fibre range of bicycles. This is deal is not related to the Indian Grand Prix and is a personal sponsorship of Karun. This ambassadorship would have given the Chandhoks a good sum of money should Team Lotus have come asking! (Rumour is that they asked for a premium!)
  2. The Dabur family (Burman’s) buying a minority stake in Team Lotus Racing. This news was out in the media at the start of the week and I will pen my comments on it soon, but this deal would mean that yet another Indian company would enter into team ownership on the Formula1 grid. Having an Indian own the company (however partial) you are employed with should put Karun in a better spot than he currently is in.

The above reasons were strong indications that Karun could just about get a late call to race. However, this wasn’t meant to be as Tony Fernandes announced yesterday via Twitter that he wouldn’t be changing his driver line-up for the Indian Grand Prix.

Also, in a conversation with someone earlier this week, I ended up explaining to them that should any Indian company wish to have Karun race in Formula1, they don’t need to go about spending hundreds of dollars in buying an F1 team. All they need to do is commit about 5 million USD per year for the next two years, buy Karun a seat and then let the boy’s talent do the talking! Agree?

Cricket fever has gripped the nation after India beat England, but did you know that Sachin Tendulkar will wave the chequered flag at the Indian Grand Prix?

Kunal Shah is an FIA-accredited Formula 1 journalist who has been reporting on Formula 1 for nearly two decades. He worked with the Force India Formula 1 Team for 6 seasons in Marketing, Sponsorship and Commercial roles. As a former single-seater racer, he was responsible for Force India's grassroots talent program, One from a Billion Hunt. Presently, he co-writes a regular Formula 1 column for Firstpost, speaks on Inside Line F1 Podcast & Pits to Podium and produces broadcast/OTT content for NENT Group (Viasport & Viaplay).

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