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Chandhok misses out on Indian race drive 25 Oct 2011

Karun Chandhok (IND) Team Lotus Reserve driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Japanese Grand Prix, Preparations, Suzuka, Japan, Thursday, 6 October 2011 Karun Chandhok (IND) Team Lotus T128.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, German Grand Prix, Practice Day, Nurburgring, Germany, Friday, 22 July 2011 Karun Chandhok (IND) Team Lotus.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, German Grand Prix, Practice Day, Nurburgring, Germany, Friday, 22 July 2011 Karun Chandhok (IND) Team Lotus T128.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, German Grand Prix, Practice Day, Nurburgring, Germany, Friday, 22 July 2011 Karun Chandhok (IND) Team Lotus T128.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, German Grand Prix, Practice Day, Nurburgring, Germany, Friday, 22 July 2011

Lotus tester Karun Chandhok has lost out on the chance to race in front of his home crowd at this weekend’s inaugural Indian event, after the team decided to retain regular line-up Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli for the New Delhi race. Chandhok, however, will be in action in the T128 during Friday's opening practice session.

“I am very excited about driving at the new Buddh International Circuit in FP1 in front of my home crowd and while I am obviously disappointed that I won’t have the chance to race on Sunday, I accept the team’s decision to opt for the experience and talent they have at their disposal with Jarno and Heikki,” explained the 27 year-old.

“This is a team that is still young, still growing, and I know that they have to do their best to secure their future in the sport - sometimes the hard decisions have to be made, and in this case it must have been a very difficult choice, but I understand that this isn’t about me.

“It’s about the team and everything the 254 people on track and back at the factory are doing to build for the future. For me, I believe that I have grown as a driver in and out of the car this year with my role in the Friday practice sessions and I’m looking forward to playing my part in helping the team have another strong weekend on track.”

Earlier this year Chandhok made a one-off race appearance for Lotus in Germany and it had been hoped he would be drafted in for his home event in India. But with the team eager to secure 10th in the constructors’ standings the decision was made to keep Trulli and Kovalainen in action for the race.

“From the team perspective the key goal for us this weekend is to maintain the performance levels we saw in the last two races and while I am sure there will be fans in India who want to see Karun race for us on Sunday we had to make the best decision for the future of the team,” explained Lotus CEO Tony Fernandes.

“It is absolutely vital that we secure tenth place in 2011 to give us the platform to keep growing and despite the fact that Karun’s performance levels have continued to improve every time he has driven for us in 2011, it was considered too much pressure to put on Karun to drive in his first home race, deal with all the attention he would have had and be able to perform at the same level as either of our regular race drivers over the whole weekend.

“For that reason we had to take the pragmatic decision to put our faith in the experience and pace we have in Jarno and Heikki, and are confident they will continue to perform at the level they have over the last two years with us. While this is obviously not the decision Karun wanted us to take he understands that we have to take the long-term view and do so in the best interests of the team.

“He also understands that his relationship with our team is not about just one race, it is about growing together and while this is an historic event, there will be many opportunities to race in India in the future, and he is in the best possible place with us to take advantage of those chances in seasons to come.”

Lotus’s decision means HRT’s Narain Karthikeyan will be the only the Indian to race in front of his home fans this weekend. Karthikeyan, who became India’s first Formula One driver back in 2005, is to take over Vitantonio Liuzzi’s car to partner Daniel Ricciardo for the New Delhi event.

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