Chandhok named Lotus reserve
Karun Chandhok has been officially announced as the Lotus reserve driver for 2011.
Chandhok, who drove for the Hispania team during the first half of last season, has been close to Lotus throughout the winter and will be the backup to Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli. Lotus confirmed that Chandhok would be taking part "in a number of Friday Practice sessions", including the first session of the new season in Melbourne.
"I've been talking to the team for quite a while about a role with them and I'm delighted we're now able to confirm that I will be driving for Team Lotus in 2011," Chandhok said. "The details of exactly which sessions I will be in the car for are being worked out now and after having spent some time with them at the recent pre-season tests I can see exactly how passionate everyone in Team Lotus is about taking this team back to the top of the F1 grid. These are very exciting times for Team Lotus and it's a real honour to be able to play a part in helping shape this team's future."
Chandhok also admitted that he harboured some hope of driving in the inaugural Indian Grand Prix, but said such an opportunity was out of his hands.
"Heikki and Jarno are the main drivers and the team has its own plans," he told the Deccan Herald. "I might, I might not, only time will tell."
Lotus team principal Tony Fernandes said he was pleased to have Chandhok on board, both for his driving skills and his ambassadorial potential.
"This is another great day for Team Lotus," Fernandes said. "Karun's appointment to our team gives us not only his immense driving talent and F1 experience, both of which will help us develop the car even further, but also brings one of the warmest, most professional personalities I have the pleasure of knowing into the Team Lotus family.
I do not think it is going too far to say that Karun represents the future of motor racing - he is living proof that geography is no boundary to talent and ambition and that you will succeed if you work hard and keep dreaming. He is fiercely proud of his Indian heritage but he has a truly global outlook and I am honoured that Team Lotus is now giving one of India's brightest stars the chance to continue to develop his talent. Everyone in the team is excited about working with Karun, and I cannot wait to see him representing the Indian nation in our car."
Chandhok - who will also be writing for ESPNF1 throughout the season - joins a large driver pool at Lotus, with the team confirming Luiz Razia as third driver and Davide Valsecchi and Ricardo Teixeira as test drivers during the final test in Barcelona.