Karun Chandhok, the Lotus driver, talks to Gary Meenaghan about his hectic home schedule, the advice he has given to the F1 fraternity and the disappointment of not getting to race in the inaugural Indian Grand Prix.
Q: The Formula One fraternity have finally arrived in your homeland. Does it feel as you expected it to?
A: It's fantastic for India and great to see everyone here. It really is a historic occasion for Indian sport, not just motorsport. The track looks fantastic and the facility is too. The drivers all seem impressed, so I'm looking forward to it.
I understand you have been suggesting to people where they should go, what to eat, etc?
Yeah, I've been advising loads of people and nobody has cursed me yet, so I must be doing OK.
What did you recommend?
To try to spend one or two days after the race because there is a lot to see. We have just had Diwali, which would have been nice for people to see. The city is the capital of the country, a truly beautiful place to visit. The Taj Mahal in Agra is not too far away.
How did you spend Diwali? Did you get a chance to enjoy it with family?
I was working. I've done 37 one-on-one interviews this week in studios right across the country. So, yeah, been doing my bit to promote Formula One and doing my bit to promote the race.
We found out only this week that you won't be racing on Sunday. That must have been disappointing for you. When did you find out and what are your thoughts now it has had a chance to sink in?
I knew a few days ago. Tony [Fernandes, the team principal] told me himself. It is what it is. The team made the decision in terms of what they feel they need. It's unfortunate that some of our sessions were ruined by rain and I didn't get the mileage I wanted, but even so, to beat Virgin and HRT I think I've proved myself in the last three Fridays that I am capable of doing it.
What was their thinking behind the decision?
They felt in the race situation they are in, that they needed a bit more race experience. I suppose at this time I need to be the team player, and respect and accept what they have decided. I'm here and will do the best I can in practice.
Does it make you even more determined to do a good job?
No. You always want to do a good job every time you get in the car. Obviously, this one will be a bit different as there will be a few more people watching.