Karun Chandhok has admitted that he expects to see Jarno Trulli back in the cockpit of the #21 at the Hungaroring next weekend, but is determined to make the most of the opportunity he has been given to replace the Italian in Germany.
The Indian has been handed the chance to compete in a grand prix for the first time in a year, having ironically been dropped ahead of the 2010 German round by Hispania Racing, but admits that he is unlikely to add the remaining circuits to his resume this season.
"But as of now it's a one off and I'll quite happily take the weekend," he told BBC Radio Norfolk
, "This is hopefully about building foundations for the future, as I'd love to be at the team long term and to have the opportunity to race for the team full-time."
Trulli's absence from the cockpit has surprised many in the F1 paddock, even though the Italian veteran has been far from happy with the T128's power steering and out-qualified by team-mate Heikki Kovalainen in all bar one of their appearances so far. Despite that, and rumours that he was exploring alternatives such as NASCAR and Le Mans, Trulli claims to have a contract for next season, and has started negotiations to extend it further.
Paddock whispers have suggested that sponsorship brought to Team Lotus by Chandhok has called for him to be given a certain number of race chances and, with an appearance in the inaugural Indian GP a distinct possibility, the Nurburgring may have been viewed as a chance to help get him up to speed while Trulli and the team wait for the latest iteration of the power steering, due to be implemented in Hungary next weekend. Whatever the reason for his shock appearance, however, the Indian insists that he feels sorry for his team-mate.
"It's never an ideal situation, but we're all professionals and this is F1 - it isn't a form of club racing," admitted Chandhok, who was confirmed as the team's official reserve in March and promptly crashed on his first lap of practice in Melbourne, "Jarno's wished me well, which just shows he's a great team player.
"I know a little bit about these sorts of situations from last year, when Hispania had a few driver rotations, and it's never nice for the person not driving, but Jarno's a total professional."