According to his father Vicki, who was cited by the media before the deal was signed and sealed, the former Hispania driver “wants to get a (reserve) slot with the idea that he gets to race at the Indian grand prix”, scheduled in late October as the 17th round (16th, if we are to count down the unscheduled Bahrain GP) of the 2011 season.
India will make its debut in the Formula 1 calendar this year and having an Indian driver in the starting lineup might attract some huge enthusiasm at the race track in October. That would benefit both the organizers and the team, and some of that has certainly influenced Team Lotus when deciding to sign Chandhok this week. Whether it will be enough to secure him a race seat at this one race, we're yet to find out.
Asked about such a prospect, Chandhok avoided to give a clear answer, leaving the door open to speculation.
“Heikki and Jarno are the main drivers and the team has its own plans,” said the 27-year old Indian racer, according to the Deccan Herald. “I might, I might not, only time will tell.”
Chandhok's debut in F1 happened last year, with Hispania Racing F1 Team, but his tenure as a race driver there lasted for only half of season. As soon as his sponsorship money were gone, he had to settle for a reserve role with the team, which he eventually left at the end of the campaign. After some miles of testing and lengthly discussions with Tony Fernandes and his Team Lotus, the two parties finally decided to join hands officially earlier this week. The deal was announced yesterday, via a team press release.