F1 »

Chandhok warns McLaren: It's impossible to catch up in two weeks

Currently out-of-work Hispania Racing F1 2010 rookie Karun Chandhok reckons this weekend's inaugural Korean Grand Prix will turn out to be another Red Bull benefit, as it will be 'impossible' for McLaren to catch up in just two weeks
Karun Chandhok – the only man to have driven the new Korea International Circuit, the stage for the upcoming inaugural Korean Grand Prix this weekend – has predicted a Red Bull Racing benefit once more and warned challengers McLaren-Mercedes that 'in two weeks [half a second] is impossible to catch up, regardless of how many new parts you throw on a car'.

In the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka last time out, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber sailed serenely clear at the front of the field to notch up a commanding one-two for RBR, with neither Ferrari star Fernando Alonso nor McLaren pairing Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton able to get even close enough to mount an attack – and the RBR duo, it is generally held, had more than enough in reserve even if they had.

However, whilst Suzuka might have been all-but tailor-made to suit the strengths of the Adrian Newey-designed RB6, the Korean track in Yeongam County is far more of an unknown, with particular concerns having been expressed inside the Milton Keynes camp as to just how much the long straights there will expose the comparative breathlessness of the Renault engine in the back of its car.

Hamilton and Button have both been talking up their chances of success in the 17th race of the season, pinning their hopes on an upgrade package to the MP4-25 that failed to yield an immediate improvement in Japan but which it is hoped will prove to be far more beneficial in Korea – and it is, indeed, something of a 'must-win' outing for the two countrymen, who are slipping increasingly out of title contention at respectively 28 (Hamilton) and 31 points (Button) adrift now of world championship leader Mark Webber.

However, out-of-work Hispania Racing ace Chandhok – who drove the circuit in an old Red Bull during a special demonstration run last month – fears that the only recently-completed track will ultimately do McLaren few favours.

“It will be closer than last weekend at Suzuka as it is not quite so aero-dependent, but I still fancy Red Bull to win,” the Indian told Telegraph Sport. “I think Korea is another Red Bull circuit. They proved by the end of Japan that they were a good half a second clear of the McLarens and Ferraris – and in two weeks that is impossible to catch up, regardless of how many new parts you throw on a car.

“It does have three long straights, which will help McLaren, but from Turn Four it's basically just left-handers all the way home and gets a bit more fiddly – slow-speed, second-gear stuff, camber changes – which will play more into Red Bull's hands. Fernando could hustle it up and get closer to them and actually I fancy [Robert] Kubica to do well again in Korea. He is a real street fighter, and this kind of track will suit him.

“What could be interesting, though, is the start. Red Bull may well lock out the front row and still not be leading by the time we reach Turn Four because of the straights in that first sector. That would make it very interesting. I know it is something that Mark is thinking about, because he told me when he asked me what the circuit was like. If it is slippery then it will probably favour Red Bull, as downforce then becomes king, but we won't know for sure until Friday.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Race, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Sunday, Qualifying, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Sunday, Qualifying, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Sunday, Qualifying, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Saturday Practice, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Race, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25 leads Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Karun Chandhok (IND), Hispania Racing F1 Team (HRT), F110
Karun Chandhok, Hispania Racing, Melbourne, 2010 Australian Grand Prix [pic credit: Karun Chandhok]
McLaren, 2011 launch, [Credit: Crash PA]
Williams, FW40, teaser shot [Credit: Williams Martini Racing]
Michael Schumacher and the 1996 Ferrari F310
Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso - Mercedes, McLaren
Antonio Giovinazzi - Ferrari SF15-T
Sebastian Vettel, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, ROC [Credit: ROC]
Juan Pablo Montoya celebrates after winning the 2017 Race of Champions title in Miami [Pic credit: ROC]
Race of Champions 2017, action [Pic credit: ROC]
Juan Pablo Monotya. Race of Champions 2017, action [Pic credit: ROC]
2017 Race of Champions line-up in Miami [Pic credit: ROC]

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.

Cael - Unregistered

October 19, 2010 8:48 AM

I'm sure that Chandhok, no matter how good/bad driver he is, knows much more about F1 teams and car development then your average F1 "expert" who posts on Crash.net. Did ya hear me.....Jose?

© 1999 - 2017 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.