Karun Chandhok might not be given the wheel of a Team Lotus car to contest his country’s inaugural Indian F1 race later this month.
In recent months, it seemed likely that Chandhok – the Tony Fernandes-headed team’s reserve driver – would line up a green-liveried car on the first grid at the new Buddh circuit.
But Malaysian Fernandes said on Wednesday: “I’d like to see him in the car, but practically there’s no point in putting him in just for the sake of it.”
Chandhok took over Jarno Trulli’s T128 at the Nurburgring earlier this season, but at the tail end of 2011 the team is holding onto the lucrative tenth place in the constructors’ championship despite not earning a single point.
“We have two extremely experienced race drivers and I’ve got to do what’s right for them and for the team, not for Karun or for the Indian fans,” Fernandes told F1’s official website.
“My heart would love to see him race there. Emotionally it makes sense, but we have to come tenth and we have the right people to do that for us,” he added.
Fernandes also hinted strongly that his team, rumoured to be called Caterham in 2012, will give up its ‘Lotus’ moniker for 2012 to the Lotus-sponsored Renault.
“We have to be realistic about this situation. Is where we are now tenable? I don’t think so. It doesn’t help F1 and it doesn’t help the fans,” he said.
Fernandes insisted that an end to the confusion will ensure “F1 wins, Group Lotus wins, Renault wins, and we win, (so) why not?”