Karun Chandhok wants to work independently to nurture Indian F1 talent
A cloud of uncertainty lurks over his career after splitting with Mahindra Racing, but Indian racer Karun Chandhok has a clear plan on how to bring out and develop future racing prospects from the country.
Chandhok does not want to involve himself with any kind of politics in the sport. Instead, he says, he wants to stay outside it and use his knowledge to bring out more talents in the future.
"The situation in Indian motorsport is really complicated. Which is why I got involved with GT academy, outside the federation. I prefer not to get involved in that. I don't want politics and drama, it is better to get directly involved with the drivers," Chandhok told PTI during the JK Tyre Racing Championship, of which he will be a part – albeit in the role of Race Director.
"By trying to do it in the official way, it slows down the process. Talking directly is better and easier. I don't have time to deal with a hierarchy of people. I would like to get to a stage where I have 5-6 boys (to guide)."
Chandhok, only the second Indian driver to reach the level of F1, recently took Arjun to F1 team Williams factory and introduced him to the bigwigs there.
"I have been working with Arjun (Maini, a rookie racer) for the last two years. I don't hold his hand. He has to grow up. I take him to gym; I make him do training at home. He also stays in my home sometimes. I like guiding him. He is only 17, very talented. Then there are GT academy drivers," he said.
Chandhok said the current generation has much better exposure and infrastructure and they must utilize it.
"They are the first generation who is benefiting from the developed infrastructure. The cars they have got are not what I and Narain (Karthikeyan) used to get. They need to use this to gain international success. If you have to go to F1, you need to win in Asia easily; if you win in Asia easily you have to a chance to be in top-10 in Europe. Then you go forward. The key is to target Formula Masters in Asia first," he said.
The 31-year-old recently split with Mahindra Racing after spending his inaugural season in Formula E blaming the unavailability of proper cars that he says would have helped him be more competitive.
"Formula E was difficult. A lot of it was not in my own hands. I was driving well as a driver but we were not competitive as a team. Unfortunately the car was not competitive. It proved difficult at the end of the year,” he added.