Fans of unemployed Indian racer Karun Chandhok – and there are plenty of you out there – will be rather delighted to know that the man from Chennai is closing in on a deal that will keep him in the F1 fold.
Having long been linked with a reserve role with Team ‘Green’ Lotus, Karun was spotted in Valencia today as Tony Fernandes’ outfit began testing their new Renault-powered T128. Wearing Team Lotus clobber, the 27-year-old was in conversation with Fernandes the team’s tech boss Mike Gascoyne.
And, speaking to Autosport about Chandhok’s presence at the test, Fernandes’ admitted he was keen on the adding the former Hispania man to his operation.
“We want a reserve driver who is going to be good for us, and Karun is definitely on the list. For me, I want it to be a team effort, and I want the team to feel comfortable.
“I want everyone to feel good about it, and I think the reserve driver has to contribute. Today is for him to see what the team is like.
“I think he likes us a lot, and he would! I want the team to also gel with him. He is a good lad; he can add a lot of value to the team. I would like Karun to be involved with us in some way shape or form.”
Chandhok meanwhile was coy about the situation, but admitted talks were under way.
“At the moment I am still in discussions,” said Karun. “Nothing is confirmed yet, and I have come here to see how the team works and to have a catch up with Tony Fernandes and Mike Gascoyne.
“Of course it would be nice to have a continued role in F1, but there is nothing finalised yet.”
A reserve role for Chandhok would provide real hope of an eventual race deal with the team, with Jarno Trulli seen by many as entering his swansong F1 campaign in 2011.