F1 news round-up: HRT set to sue Karun Chandhok
The Sport Review brings you a round-up of all of the latest news from the world of Formula 1
The BBC‘s coverage of the 2011 Formula 1 season will see former McLaren and Red Bull driver David Coulthard replace Jonathan Legard in the commentary box, with Legard’s co-commentator and expert summariser Martin Brundle taking the lead role.
The move, confirmed by all parties last week, comes as no surprise after rumours first surfaced in November, while Coulthard is understood to have agreed to take the role in December alongside other duties pre and post-race.
Indian driver Narain Karthikeyan has revealed that he will return to F1 this year with the struggling Hispania Racing Team. It is a surprise move, with the 33-year-old’s F1 career to date spanning a drive for Jordan in 2005, and two years in a test role with Williams before leaving to join other series.
Since leaving F1 Karthikeyan has raced for HRT team boss Colin Kolles’ Audi team in the Le Mans Series in 2009, and with F1 racing in New Delhi for the first time this year has secured a drive with backing from Indian motor group Tata as Indian companies and F1 teams look to capitalise on another new market for the sport.
Karthikeyan’s compatriot Karun Chandhok is reportedly being sued by HRT for an alleged breach of contract during the 2010 season. Chandhok was dropped by the team from the German Grand Prix, with little reason given for the decision, but hinted at an issue with sponsors. Now, reports in India and Britain now claim that Chandhok’s sponsors paid just €2m of an €8m agreement, severely hampering the team’s progress, according to Kolles.
Mercedes have denied making moves to sign 2010 world champion Sebastian Vettel for 2012 after Red Bull Racing’s Helmut Marko claimed the German team were expressing an interest in their driver.
Ferrari are also interested in securing the 23-year-old to partner 2005 and 2006 world champion Fernando Alonso when his current contract expires at the end of the 2011 season. However, Red Bull do have an option for 2012, and will fight hard to retain their prize asset.
Sauber have revealed that Japenese driver Kamui Kobayashi will be the first driver to take to the wheel of their 2011 car, the C30, at a filming day in Valencia ahead of the first test of the 2011 season, which will see new driver Sergio Perez take part in two full days of testing.
Hispania Racing have left the Formula 1 Teams’ Association (FOTA) after team boss Kolles claimed FOTA “defends only the interests of the big teams”. However, FOTA general secretary Simone Perillo said that the team did not “fulfil their 2010 FOTA membership fee obligations”.