Karun Chandhok has insisted that he is 'not disappointed' at being passed over by Force India for a try-out during the special F1 young driver test at Jerez next week.
The Silverstone-based squad revealed yesterday that DTM front-runner and long-time Mercedes-Benz protégé Paul di Resta and reigning Indy Lights Champion J.R. Hildebrand will get behind the wheel of the much-improved VJM02 in southern Spain [see separate story – click here
], with the latter becoming the first American to drive an F1 car since Scott Speed's ill-fated venture with Red Bull 'junior' outfit Scuderia Toro Rosso two years ago.
The outing will mark the final time F1 cars run in 2009, given the blanket cost-cutting ban on in-season and end-of-season testing – and prior to the announcement it had been suggested that GP2 Series race-winner Chandhok and former A1GP World Cup of Motorsport Champion Neel Jani were the two men most likely to be given a chance to prove their worth.
However, Force India F1 chairman and team principal Vijay Mallya has repeatedly stressed that he will not be swayed by nationality in terms of driver choice, and Chandhok – who impressed during his only previous F1 test for Red Bull Racing at Barcelona in late 2007 – has hinted that the snub came as no real surprise.
“We talked about it and I expressed my ambitions to do something with Force India,” the 25-year-old told DNA
, “but they opted to go with other drivers. That's their decision, but I'm not disappointed.”