Despite being linked to possible F1 roles for next season, Karun Chandhok returned to the track for the first time since the final round of the GP2 Series at Monza to work through various opportunities in the feeder category for 2009.
The Indian tested with Fisichella Motorsport at Jerez, before returning to his 2008 team, iSport International, at Paul Ricard, and was delighted to finish fifth fastest with the Italian outfit. FMS did not enjoy a strong campaign and was both surprised and pleased with Chandhok's performance.
“I got to know Giancarlo Fisichella and his manager, Enrico Zanarini, this year, as he has been driving for Force India, and they asked if there was a chance to do a test together with their GP2 team," Chandhok revealed, "I was, of course, happy to do the test and I am glad that I was able to help them make some progress with the car after what was a difficult year for them.
"They were a very friendly and great bunch of guys to work with, and to be ahead of the cars from established top teams like Campos, Racing Engineering and iSport for the day was great encouragement. I'm glad that I got to prove I am a frontrunner irrespective of the team.”
The subsequent outing with iSport, for one day at Paul Ricard, allowed both parties to carry out important evaluation for the 2009 campaign.
“As is the case every winter, all the teams and drivers are testing different drivers, and iSport wanted me to do a day to test alongside their other 2009 prospects so we can evaluate things on the same day," Chandhok explained, "Of course, the team and I know each other quite well, but the test was a good chance to take stock of things after the season has finished. Unfortunately, the weather was really bad and the persistent rain meant that the test wasn't very conclusive.”
Despite the running he has done in the past few weeks, however, Chandhok insists that he is not yet ready to reveal where he will be next season.
“Obviously, I'm looking at various options for teams in GP2, and these winter tests have given me some idea of what the best choices are," he confirmed, "Together with my sponsors, we've got a shortlist of teams that we think would give me the best chance to fight at the front of the GP2 series in 2009, and now it's a question of negotiating with the teams to find the best solution.”