Karun Chandhok hoping for more F1 races
London: Formula One driver Karun Chandhok is hoping for another race opportunity with Team Lotus, maybe even this year, despite finishing last in the German Grand Prix.
Chandhok replaced Italian Jarno Trulli in a one-off appearance at the Nuerburgring on Sunday and completed the distance in his first race since being dropped by Hispania exactly one year ago.
He ended up 20th and two laps behind team mate Heikki Kovalainen but Chandhok explained his lack of track time this year and inexperience with the new Pirelli tyres made that inevitable.
"I believe I`ll get some more chances because (team boss) Tony (Fernandes) seems quite happy with the job I did, the engineers seem happy with the job I did," the Indian told reporters.
"Bernie (Ecclestone) is very happy as well, he came to see Tony and me on the grid yesterday," added the 27-year-old who has sought guidance in the past from the Formula One supremo.
"I think I have done enough to warrant another go but whether it`s this year or next year or the year after, we have to wait and see. That`s a complicated situation. It`s just a question of when it happens."
The inaugural Indian Grand Prix is scheduled for Oct. 30 and there could be two home drivers on the starting grid for the first time.
Narain Karthikeyan has been moved aside at Hispania for Australian rookie Daniel Ricciardo but has been assured he will be back behind the wheel for the New Delhi race.
Chandhok`s Team Lotus role could also see him back on the starting grid, with Malaysian aviation entrepreneur Fernandes likely to be keen to steal some of the thunder from rival airline boss Vijay Mallya`s Force India team.
"We (he and Ecclestone) had a good chat (with Fernandes on the grid), they basically told me to go away and leave it to Tony and my dad and him. I think his (Ecclestone`s) last words were, `Get on with your job and leave us to it`," said Chandhok.
Chandhok thanked Fernandes for his confidence in him and Trulli for kind words of support.
"I think Tony has shown this weekend that he`s not afraid to mix things up," said the Indian.
"Obviously Sunday wasn`t that good but they (the team) were quite happy overall with how the weekend went. This weekend was about earning internal respect and not embarrassing Tony for his bold decision of sticking me in there.”
"I think internal respect was earned and I don`t think I embarrassed him."
Chandhok recognised he was a long way off Kovalainen in Friday practice but the gap came down and he qualified 21st to the Finn`s 19th.
He made a strong start but was then forced wide before spinning twice in the race, leaving him at the back.
"I am very happy with the way the weekend went," said Chandhok.
"They said to me if you qualify within a second of Heikki they will be impressed with that and I got within eight tenths.”
"When it came to the race I didn`t quite have the experience when it comes to tyre degradation ... I wasn`t sure how quickly the car would snap and that`s why I spun basically.”
"Unfortunately all the other drivers had the chance to spin in pre-season testing. I have to do it in public."
"It`s just the tyres are so different (compared to last year`s Bridgestones), that`s the big thing ... it`s just feeling the front tyre as you turn into the apex, it`s massively different," said Chandhok.
"We worked out before the race I`d done a total of two hours and 15 minutes of driving in the car, which is nothing if you compare it with six days of pre-season testing and all the other weekends other people have done on the tyre."