Sport | Motorsport

Chandhok sets two-year target to move up

Looks to be the second driver from India, after Karthikeyan, to earn a promotion to the sport's highest level.

  • By Alaric Gomes, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 23:38 May 3, 2009
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Gulf News Archive
  • Following in the footsteps of Narain Karthikeyan, India's Karun Chandhok has set himself two years to move up to the Formula One circuit.

Sakhir, Bahrain: India's Karun Chandhok has set himself a two-year target of becoming the country's second Formula One driver.

Chandhok, who is participating in the 2007 GP2 Series that runs as a support race along with Formula One, is one of two drivers on the Durango Racing team.

The Indian champion was 16th on the starting grid and eventually managed to climb into 9th to miss out on the points narrowly during Saturday evening's opening race.

In the second round on Sunday, Chandhok was involved in an incident and could not finish the race.

Eyeing a position

The GP2 Series is meant to be a feeder series for drivers eyeing a position in the Formula One teams.

Narain Karthikeyan became India's first driver in a F1 car when he made his debut in 2005 with the Jordan team. But subsequently, he could not secure his seat when the Jordan team changed names and became Midland team and demanded as much as $11.7 million from the Indian.

However, Chandhok has set about a path in achieving his dream of scaling the Formula One cliff. "I want to use the first part of this year as a learning process," Chandhok stated.

"I want to be in the top 15 for the first part of the season, and then I want to start scoring points for the second half. The GP2 will be a two-year progression for me," Chandhok said.

The 22-year-old Indian spent just six days of the 12 allowed in winter testing of the car in Europe. "But I've learnt fast and learnt well."

'Enough potential'

"We've displayed enough potential to show that we can progress for the rest of the season," he added.

He revealed that he has already had discussions with some of a Formula One teams to start off as one of their test drivers. "That's why I am here," Chandhok said.

"We've had discussions with many people, but I cannot name any of them. At the moment the important thing is for people to be aware that there is a person called Karun Chandhok and he is doing pretty well in the GP2 series."

However, the results in the GP2 Series will also have to start showing for the Indian. "Once the results start showing, I am hopeful I will get a chance to test in a F1 car by the end of this season or at least by the middle of next season," Chandhok said.

"My expectation would also be by the end of next season."

Even F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is enthusiastic about Chandhok's chances. "I have been guiding and supporting Karun in his quest to compete in GP2, as he progresses towards Formula 1. I wish him all the success," Ecclestone said.

Gulf News
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