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Chandhok hints at Lotus deal

24 January 2011

Karun Chandhok has hinted that he could be close to securing a return to the F1 paddock with Team Lotus after his debut season in the sport was brought to an early end.

The Indian driver started the 2010 campaign with Hispania Racing before sponsorship issues meant he was sidelined mid-way through the campaign, with his only involvement in the sport from that point forward being as a guest commentator with BBC Radio 5Live.

Having ruled himself out of a return to Hispania this season as he seeks to move forwards with his career, Chandhok has now revealed that he is now in talks with Malaysian-owned Team Lotus about taking on the test and reserve role with the team, which would give him the chance to take part in Friday practice sessions during the season.

However, Chandhok was quick to point out that nothing has yet been signed, with a number of other drivers also in contention for the role after the departure of Fairuz Fauzy over the off-season.

"Nothing is final until you have a contract in your hands,” he told the PTI press agency. “It will take about two-three weeks to know. They are maybe talking to 20 more guys other than me.

"[However] I like the idea of building an Asian team with Asian drivers, mechanics, engineers, PR and marketing people. Tony Fernandes is trying hard and that's what he has done with his (airline) Air Asia as well.”

Chandhok added that he was hopeful that if a deal could be struck, it would be as part of a long-term agreement that would ultimately help him return to the grid.

"I want to be involved in the medium term for two-three years,” he said. “It would allow to build the partnership, to grow together. Stability is what I am looking for.

"I will get to learn (in 2011) even if I drive on just Fridays."


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