If Narain Karthikeyan’s name goes down into the history books as India’s first Formula one driver, then Karun Chandhok must be equally proud considering he holds the unique distinction of completing the first timed lap at Friday morning’s free at the inaugural Indian GP in 2011 for Lotus Racing.
“It was very special of course, especially since I had spent a lot of time seeing the circuit develop into what it finally became. I remember first going there in April 2010 when it was an empty dirt field, so to do the first lap was a nice way to close the loop on that story,” Chandhok told MiD DAY yesterday.
Three-time world champ Sebastian Vettel’s domination has been the highlight of yet another F1 season, and a win at this weekend’s Indian GP could seal the Red Bull driver’s fourth world championship.
Chandhok however, believes that if Vettel does win this Indian GP it will be a moment to savour for the German, not only because he will be crowned world champion for a fourth time, but also because the next title might not be achieved in such a dominant fashion given the slew of changes set to take place in F1 next year.
“Vettel is certainly the favourite again (to win the Indian GP) but hopefully people like Mark Webber, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Romain Grosjean, Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Rosberg can put up a fight.
However, the new rules (that will come into effect next year) are the biggest shake up in recent Formula One history. So definitely it could change things around next season,” added Chandhok, who now drives in the World Endurance Championships, added.
On the Indian GP missing from 2014, Chandhok said race organisers, the Jaypee Group, have no choice but to accept what is handed down to them. “I think we’re looking at April 2015 (for the next Indian GP after this Sunday).
So, though it will be a lot warmer (in Delhi during that time of the year), at the end of the day, if that is the only slot available then we have to take it. There’s a huge demand for F1 with a 22-race calendar lined up next year . So, getting a slot is a battle.”