Karun Chandhok is believed to be just days away from securing a test driving role in Formula 1 in 2009, it has been revealed.
The Indian is one of a number of drivers who has been on the cusp of the top flight for the past couple of seasons, impressing during a testing opportunity with Red Bull Racing in Barcelona last November and winning races for both Durango and iSport International in the hotly-contested GP2 Series feeder category.
Though Chandhok has made no secret of the fact that he would sooner be racing in F1 next year rather than merely testing, Force India chairman and managing director – and family friend – Vijay Mallya suggested a couple of months ago that his countryman is still 'a year away from a race seat' just yet [see separate story – click here
The Kingfisher Airlines billionaire, however, added that he 'would love to give Karun a go as a test driver' – and it now appears he will be every bit as good as his word.
Calcutta broadsheet The Telegraph
has reported that the 24-year-old is to be made an official test driver for the Silverstone-based concern in 'the coming days', dovetailing those duties with a third campaign in GP2.
'It would be ideal for Chandhok if he gets a fully-fledged testing role in 2009,' the newspaper quotes sources close to the Red Bull-backed ace as having said. 'Testing is restricted in Formula 1 as a cost-cutting measure, so he can be both driving in GP2 and do the testing.'