F1 News: Karun Chandhock confident of 2011 race seat
The Sport Review’s round-up of all of the latest news from the world of Formula 1.
Narain Karthikeyan has emerged as a shock contender to drive for Force India in 2011. The 33 year-old, who was the first Indian driver to race in F1, contested the 2005 season with Jordan, and with a reported £5million package through a number of sponsors he could fill the void should Vijay Mallya part with Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi.
Hispania driver Karun Chandhok is confident of securing a race seat in 2011, despite losing his place to well-sponsored Japanese driver Sakon Yamamoto in June. Chandhok believes he has shown enough in a poor car racing against fellow newcomers Lotus and Virgin Racing to grab a drive with HRT or another team next season as F1 welcomes the inaugural Indian Grand Prix.
Pastor Maldonado has reportedly signed a deal with Williams to partner Rubens Barrichello next season. The newly-crowned GP2 champion has been widely-tipped to enter F1 in 2011, replacing Nico HÃƒÂ¼lkenberg in the Oxford-based team.
F1 could lose two German drivers in 2011 as a lack of sponsorship forces more teams to consider pay drivers. As well as HÃƒÂ¼lkenberg at Williams, Nick Heidfeld also looks likely to miss out again following Sauber’s decision to sign Telmex-backed Sergio Perez to partner Kamui Kobayashi.
Pirelli test driver Pedro de la Rosa revealed that the new tyre being developed for the 2011 season feels different to the 2010 Bridgestone tyre after testing in Barcelona. The Spaniard, who took up the test role after losing his Sauber seat to Heidfeld, is the only Pirelli tester to have significant experience of racing on the Bridgestone rubber this year. Pirelli are close to “defining” the tyres that will be taken to Abu Dhabi for the teams to test following the season finale next month.
Jean-Claude Marcourt, the economics minister of the local Walloon government, has revealed that negotiations are still ongoing over a new contract to host the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps. The race is under threat of being dropped in favour of newer events as the local government struggles to meet increasing fees imposed by Bernie Ecclestone.
Former McLaren and Ferrari driver Kimi RÃƒÂ¤ikkÃƒÂ¶nen was unable to compete in the Rally of Cataluña after he crashed his CitroÃƒÂ«n C4 in Thursday’s warm-up stage – the second time it has happened this season. RÃƒÂ¤ikkÃƒÂ¶nen also revealed that he has yet to decide whether his future remains in the WRC or F1.
The inaugural Korean Grand Prix could experience rain according to a number of weather forecasters. The Yeongam circuit is often subject to adverse weather conditions, as experienced earlier in the year when almost two months were lost in construction.
Organisers of this weekend’s Korean Grand Prix say they have sold 90,000 tickets for the inaugural race on Sunday, with a further 10,000 seats still available and no standing tickets sold.