Interview with Karun Chandhok on www.karunchandhok.com
Where are you at the moment and what have you been up to since the end of the GP2 season in Algarve ?
I'm in England, at 'home' in Brackley at the moment. It's been a pretty busy time. I went to Singapore for the Grand Prix and some meetings in the paddock. I was in India for just a couple days on some promo work for the sponsors and since then I've been back in Europe training hard. I've been on the bike, in the pool or in the gym pretty much every single day pushing like mad and it's been quite nice to train properly without travelling around every week. I've just crossed the 4000 km mark on my cycle for the year which is pretty good considering all the travel I think !
You were seen back on track this week for the first time in a while. What was that like ?
I did a test with the Coloni GP2 team this week which went very well. I was really pleased to get back in the car after 2 months and be straight on the pace. On my third timed lap this morning I went to the top of the times which was a nice feeling after a tough season. I ended up 6th at the end after some traffic on the final run, but overall it was mainly a good chance for me to take some rust off and make sure I'm race ready in case any other opportunities come along in the near future. I have to admit that there was some competitive pleasure to finish a fair bit ahead of both Ocean cars at the test !
All of us in India have been listening to your commentary and the online forums around Asia have been very complimentary of your work. Have you enjoyed it ?
Yea, it's been great fun ! I think a lot of people were surprised to have a knowledgeable Asian commentator and the messages I've got from people all around Asia have been really positive. For me personally it's been interesting to watch the races from another perspective in terms of following and understanding the strategies that the teams use to gain an advantage.
What are your thoughts on your former team-mate Bruno Senna being announced as a driver for Campos-Meta F1 in 2010 ?
I am genuinely pleased for him. Bruno is a friend and we got along very well together. I think it's great for Formula 1 to have to Senna name back. He is definitely a very fast driver and he deserves his place in F1. I believe he has a good financial sponsorship package which probably made him an even more attaractive option for the team.
We were very evenly matched in terms of speed - I don't think we were ever more than a couple tenths apart and therefore we built a healthy amount of respect for each other as two team-mates pushing each other. From a technical side, we worked very well together but more than anything, we actually grew to become friends, which is very rare for team-mates. His family are lovely people who have been through a very tough time, not only with the loss of Ayrton but also Bruno's father who got killed soon after Ayrton and I'm very pleased they've got the Senna name back to F1.
What's the situation as far as your future goes at the moment ?
My father, our sponsors, advisors and I have been quite busy at following the driver market in F1 and making sure we're talking to the right people but it's a very complicated time in F1 with a lot of unknowns. We've met with all the new teams and some of the existing ones to explore options for 2010. At the moment, I would say there are still 3 very realistic possibilites to race in Formula 1 next year but I don't think anything will be public for a few more weeks. Of the 26 pieces in the F1 driver puzzle there are only maybe 10 that are in place so there's still a lot up in the air and I am still optimistic that something will work out.
Once again, there have been a few stories this week about you and Force India. Can you comment on that ?
All I can say is that those stories didn't come from me ! At the moment all that has been written is purely speculation and nothing has been confirmed.