Formula One: Chandhok replaces Trulli for German Grand Prix

Karun Chandhok

By ADAM COOPER on 7/21/2011

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Karun Chandhok is to replace Formula One veteran Jarno Trulli at Team Lotus for the German Grand Prix on July 24 in a one-off arrangement. Most F1 observers assumed for some time that Chandhok would get to race only in his home race in India in October, so his inclusion at the N├╝rburgring comes as a surprise.

The Indian driver contested 10 Grands Prix for HRT last year, until losing his seat to Sakon Yamamoto. He has driven in Friday practice for Team Lotus on four occasions this year, although he did hardly any laps during his first three appearances.

The team added that it is negotiating with Trulli for 2012, thus ruling out any suggestions that he has been dropped.

“Ever since I first joined the team, I have been looking forward to this opportunity,” Chandhok said. “I am determined to do my best to repay their faith in me and help the team progress, this season and for many years to come. I am approaching the weekend in a very realistic frame of mind.

“I will be doing my best to push and to make sure I learn as much as possible all weekend, take each session as it comes and work as closely as I can with the engineers and the whole team to do the best job I can. Whatever happens, I am very excited about lining up on the grid on Sunday, and I know there will be millions of Indian fans, and Team Lotus fans around the world, who will be behind me and the whole team, so I will do the best I can to give them something to cheer for.”

Trulli added, “I'm looking forward to working with Karun this weekend and doing whatever I can to help him get the most out of his opportunity in Germany. It's great that the team is true to its word of helping develop young talent, particularly from parts of the word where it is even harder to break through into the top rung of motorsport, so I'll be there to give him guidance and assistance, in and out of the car.

Team principal Tony Fernandes confirmed that Trulli is likely to return to the team in 2012.

“Ever since I first met Karun, I have been impressed with his whole demeanor,” Fernandes commented. “He is talented, passionate, committed, and he brings great energy to the whole team, so I am delighted that we are giving him the chance to add even more value to us in the cockpit over a whole race weekend.

“I also want to take this chance to thank Jarno for helping make Karun's opportunity this weekend possible. He has been extremely accommodating in stepping to the side for this race, and our commitment to him is unwavering. I am delighted to confirm that we are in the process of negotiating an extension to his contract with us, and we are all looking forward to unveiling the details of that very soon.

“He is a key member of our team, and I hope that we can give him a car as soon as possible that allows him to utilize his considerable talent to the full. For this weekend, he will be on hand to lend his huge experience and support to Karun, and I am sure Jarno, Heikki [Kovalainen] and Karun will do me, the whole team and all our fans very proud indeed.”

Team technical boss Mike Gascoyne said, “I am delighted that we are able to give Karun a full weekend in the car. He has been a very good addition to our driver lineup, and now we are giving him a chance to take the next step in fulfilling his potential. Jarno will be stepping aside for him for this race, and we will use Karun's feedback over the weekend as a comparison against Jarno's and Heikki's experiences this season with a number of aspects of the car, including the power-steering system, to help us keep moving forward in 2011 and beyond.”

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