x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Karun Chandhok will not race for Team Lotus in home Indian Grand Prix

Narain Karthikeyan will be the sole Indian driver at the inaugural race as Tony Fernandes, the Team Lotus owner, opts for experience.

NEW DELHI // Karun Chandhok's dreams of racing in his country's maiden Formula One race did not materialise as Team Lotus have opted to use their regular drivers for this weekend's Indian Grand Prix.

Chandhok, the team's reserve driver, competed in Germany this year to kindle hopes of racing in his home grand prix as well, but Tony Fernandes, the team owner, said Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli will be on race duty to ensure the team consolidated their 10th position in the points table.

"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," Fernandes said in a statement.

"While all the emotional reasons for him driving were right we were conscious that the limited running he has had in the car this season ... has not given him the best preparation for this race, so we have taken the very difficult decision not to run him in the race this weekend.

Fernandes said the team will be taking the pragmatic decision and chose the experienced drivers of Trulli and Kovalainen to secure their 10th place in the constructors standings for 2011.

Narain Karthikeyan will now be the lone Indian driver competing in the race for the struggling HRT.

With his role confined now to the Friday morning practice session, Chandhok, 27, did not hide his feeling.

"I'm obviously disappointed that I won't be on the grid for the first Indian Grand Prix," Chandhok said. "Everyone knows the most important and emotional race for any driver is their home race and particularly in my case, I've been involved with the project since the track was an empty piece of land.

"I'm sure it's been a tough call for Tony to make and on some level I think he's feeling some pain about it as we've always had a good personal relationship.

"The team have opted to go for experience at this time but I will go to the paddock in Delhi with my head held high because I feel I did everything possible in and out of the car especially over the last three months to show Tony that I can be in F1 in the longer term."