Indian racer Karun Chandhok has been named as the first driver to sign up with Ocean Racing Technology for the 2009 GP2 Series season.
Chandhok, who has won races in each of the previous two seasons, will join the team owned by SEAT World Touring Car Championship driver Tiago Monteiro for his third year in GP2 after failing to find the funding to continue with the iSport team.
However, while he admits it may be viewed as a gamble to join the newest team on the grid, Chandhok said he was confident of helping the team become winners during the upcoming campaign.
“Of course, going to a new team is always a bit of a gamble for a driver,” he said. “Any new team will take some time to get fully up to speed and it's slightly unrealistic to think we're going to be Championship contenders, but certainly the objective is to win races this year. iSport was a very good team but we could not conclude a suitable financial agreement and have parted ways on good terms. My experience with them will certainly be of benefit as I work to develop ORT into a front running team.
“Tiago and his partner Jose Guedes made us a great offer in terms of a technical and financial package and we were able to agree terms quite easily. The engineers who have joined ORT, Nigel Clyde and Tom Davis are good people that I've known for a while and I'm confident that together we can all work to be successful this year.”
Monteiro was also pleased with the deal, stating that an experienced GP2 racer was exactly what the team needed ahead of its first season in the main series.
“It is very important for Ocean Racing Technology to guarantee the presence of a talented driver such as Karun Chandhok,” he said. “He is fast, a hard worker and already has some great results on different kinds of tracks. From what we hear, he always had an excellent working relationship with engineers and team principals that he has previously worked with and has won two races in the GP2 Main Series.
“It is extremely positive that he signed this contract well before the championship starts because this way we can immediately begin work for the Main Series.
For us, it is important that an experienced and fast driver like Karun puts his confidence in Ocean Racing Technology, which is a very young team. He is the driver we need to achieve our goals, which are to be competitive right away and consistently into the points.”