Mar.24 (GMM) Karun Chandhok has denied claims the group behind next year’s inaugural Indian grand prix is also funding his 2010 seat with the HRT team.
When F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone recently hailed this year’s debut of the Indian driver, he also pointed out that “we will have an Indian GP thanks to the Jaypee Group in 2011”.
Jaypee, an Indian industrial conglomerate, is constructing a Hermann Tilke-designed F1 circuit about 40km from the capital New Delhi.
But while Indian Chandhok, 26, secured his drive with the new Spanish team HRT with the help of $5m in sponsorship backing, he denied that the Jaypee Group is directly involved.
“The Jaypee Group had no influence in me securing a drive,” Chandhok, whose father is the Indian motor racing and FIA official Vicky, told Forbes India.
“My father and I know the people and are advising on various aspects of the (Indian GP) 2011 project but as regards to my drive there’s no link at the moment,” he insisted.
Chandhok also admitted his racing career was close to collapse at the end of 2006, before Ecclestone stepped in.
“A week before the testing season, Bernie Ecclestone told me that me he had managed to come to a deal with (GP2 team) Durango which totally rescued my career.
“That was a defining moment in my career, one I will always be indebted to them for,” he added.