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Never Turned A Wheel: Karun Chandhok Prepares To Qualify

Never Turned A Wheel: Karun Chandhok Prepares To Qualify

He is yet to turn a wheel in the new Hispania car, but Karun Chandhok remains calm in the garage as he prepares to join the qualifying session ahead of tomorrow’s Bahrain Grand Prix. Speaking to the BBC while his mechanics hurried around in the background, Chandhok described how his running today will essentially be an installation session for himself and will try to stay out of the way of the teams vying for the top positions.

Hydraulic issues have plagued Hispania Racing so far this weekend and rookie pilot Chandhok was forced to remain in the garage on Friday and again on Saturday morning. Team mate Bruno Senna fared a little better, managing to complete 17 laps in the afternoon and then adding a further 11 this morning.

We’ve had a load of problems, obviously coming late to the programme. We can’t seem to get the clutch and gearbox working the right way. I don’t think we are going to get out this [Friday] afternoon, which is disappointing.

There have been about five occasions in the last 24 hours when we thought we would be okay, and then something went wrong. It’s frustrating for the mechanics as well, because they have been working since last night.

It’s some sort of electronic or hydraulic issue, I don’t think it’s mechanical. It’s not an ideal situation, but we’ve been a but luckier on Bruno’s car which at least got out of the garage, and try and do a bit more this afternoon. Karun Chandhok.

It obviously isn’t an ideal situation for Chandhok, and he admitted to Jake Humphrey prior to qualifying that he just hopes to get some laps under his belt and intends to stay away from the other drivers, perhaps not even running in the final 6 or 7 minutes of Q1 in order to avoid the faster cars.

Even the teams who have been in F1 for a long time, there is a lot to learn, so for a new team and a new driver you can imagine that problem multiplies. It’s not an easy situation.

We all knew coming into the weekend that it is going to be tough, but we were at least hoping to do some sort of a shakedown today. That was the plan. It is what it is.

Medium to long term I am optimistic, but it certainly looks like the first four races are going to be character building. Karun Chandhok.

Karun Chandhok however, despite the problems he and the Hispania team are facing, remained very calm in the garage and spoke well to the media.

It seems to be a bit of a nightmare for us. In some ways it is annoying and frustrating, but in some ways it is normal because it is a shakedown and that is what you end up seeing at shakedowns.

The team are working amazingly hard. These guys have worked 40 hours straight and they are doing the best job they can – unfortunately we haven’t had the time to do all this in private.

To have got into the car and then get back out three minutes later was not a very good feeling, but what can I do? I have to keep my chin up. There is no point getting depressed about it, and no point slagging the team off. It is not anyone’s fault – it is just circumstances. Karun Chandhok.

Update:

Somewhat impressively though, Chandhok managed to get out in the first qualifying session and was only 1.7s off the pace. Considering the Indian had never turned a wheel in the car since today, the pace Chandhok managed was pretty good.

Oliver White

2 comments

  • I am seriously impressed by the attitude Karun has taken to Hispania’s woes. He’d have been completely justified in feeling like punching someone in sheer frustration, but he’s been very restrained and respectful towards his team whenever anyone’s asked about his travails.

    I can see him being an asset to any team on the grid, given the time and space to develop as a driver.

  • I am seriously impressed by the attitude Karun has taken to Hispania’s woes.

    So am I. Today was the first time I heard Chandhok speak and he did so with respect, maturity and a level of calmness I have only seen once before. Sebastian Vettel was pretty cool prior to his maiden grand prix, although his cheeky youthfulness bordered on arrogance at the time. Of course, it was eventually realised to be justified and his humorous nature appreciated. Maybe Chandhok is a driver to be keeping an eye on in the future. Let’s just hope the Hispania can last long enough tomorrow for Karun to get some testing done.

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