Karun Chandhok claims he has turned down the chance to return to the F1 grid in 2011 with the HRT team.
With his Indian countryman Narain Karthikeyan in one seat, there is still a vacancy with the Spanish team but 2010 rookie Chandhok told the Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) that he “turned it down”.
“I had the offer from them but I turned it down because it would not have served my purpose in the long run,” he said on Friday.
“Racing for the team in the first year made sense, but now I am looking at a team that could fetch me points,” added Chandhok.
He said he is now focused on racing for one of “two teams” but doesn’t want to say more until a deal is finalised “in a couple of weeks”.
Karthikeyan’s signing is regarded as being based on his sponsorship, as upon announcing the news the 33-year-old thanked his long-time backer Tata.
But team boss Colin Kolles told Reuters a deal is not done yet.
“Of course we would like to have Tata as a partner, we would like to have more companies from India as a partner,” he said.
However, Kolles did not deny that Karthikeyan is bringing money to the seat but said that is widespread in F1.
“What is Sauber doing with Mr Perez? Williams with Mr Maldonado? Do you think we are running on air? The money has to come from somewhere,” he insisted.
Kolles confirmed that HRT’s new car will not be ready for the first test at Valencia and suggested it might also be missing at Jerez shortly afterwards.
“Maybe we will have the new one for the last two tests,” he said.
© RIF | GMM