Bernie Ecclestone has backed Karun Chandhok to return to the formula one grid next year with a “better car”.
When the Indian rookie signed up for his debut season with HRT this year, he thanked F1 chief executive Ecclestone for being “a superb pillar of support to me and my family”.
However, it is now expected that Chandhok, 26, will sit out the remainder of the season in deference to the Japanese pay-driver Sakon Yamamoto.
But crucially, one of Chandhok’s sponsors is Jaypee Sports, who are bringing formula one to India next year at the circuit currently under construction 40 kilometres southeast of New Delhi.
Ecclestone in 2010 described India as one of “the most important and powerful players in the world of business, culture and sport”.
The Briton is now quoted by the Times of India: “Having an Indian team (Force India) is obviously a big help. An Indian driver will be an even better deal.
“I definitely want to see Karun in a better car next year,” said the diminutive 79-year-old.
Ecclestone said of Chandhok, who now travels to the grands prix to commentate for British television: “He served his apprenticeship in a car that he could do nothing about.
“He really needs to be in a team where he can show his potential because I think he can be very, very good if he gets the right car,” added Ecclestone.
He said he plans to visit the site of next October’s inaugural Indian grand prix after the forthcoming race in Brazil.
“The rains would’ve stopped by then (November),” said Ecclestone. “Work has really suffered I heard.”
On a PR visit to India last weekend, Lewis Hamilton also backed Chandhok to shine at the wheel of a better car.
“Karun is a very good driver,” said the 2008 world champion. “He understands the nuances of the sport very well and if he is able to get a better car, he would be able to make a big difference.”
© RIF | GMM