Hispania Racing (HRT) refugees Karun Chandhok and Bruno Senna have admitted that there is little chance of them remaining on the grand prix grid in F1 2011 – and whilst the former insists he is focussing on 'the medium-to-long term', the latter fears 'we may see some talents wasted' in the current economic climate.
Chandhok and Senna began the 2010 campaign – the pair's rookie season in the top flight – as team-mates at Spanish newcomer HRT, but the Indian found himself dropped in favour of well-heeled pay-driver Sakon Yamamoto midway through. Whilst the Brazilian conversely retained his seat for the majority of the races, a well-documented e-mail spat with team principal Dr. Colin Kolles that resulted in him being 'rested' at the eleventh hour ahead of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone hinted at tensions behind-the-scenes.
With the entire grid now virtually full for the coming season, Chandhok has set his sights on securing a testing berth, with the ambitious and newly-renamed Team Lotus – which has parted company with Fairuz Fauzy and whose team principal Tony Fernandes is a self-confessed fan of the 26-year-old from Chennai – seen as his most likely destination.
“There's no real race seat that we are chasing,” Chandhok told Reuters
after it was surprisingly announced that his compatriot Narain Karthikeyan had signed to compete for Hispania in 2011 following half a decade away from the fray. “We were not chasing the HRT seat at all.
“I've been speaking to a variety of people, but at the moment I am quite focussed on getting something done for the medium-to-long term. If a third driver role leads to something better for 2012, then that's what I'd like to see.”
There is clearly no room at the Hispania inn this year, either, for Senna, after Kolles brusquely told Reuters
that 'I can definitely say that Mr. Bruno Senna is not going to race for HRT...one hundred per cent not'. The likeable Paulista has acknowledged that with so few drives remaining available and money speaking louder than talent in many quarters, his chances of snatching an alternative seat are slim.
“Maybe he (Kolles) is right,” the 27-year-old mused. “The situation is a bit difficult in F1 right now. I didn't really have the opportunity to show what I could do last year because of various problems, and that didn't help me for this season.
“We are in talks for the few opportunities that are still open, but I can't say it's very easy at the moment. Even Nico [Hülkenberg] is struggling to find a competitive seat. We may see some talents wasted because of the current situation. I hope I can take any opportunities that are available...you never know.”
Aside from the cockpit alongside Karthikeyan at HRT, the only options remaining open in 2011 are the two Force India seats, which are widely expected to be occupied by Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta, with Hülkenberg slotting into the reserve driver role.