The F1 grid is now full with the announcement that Karun Chandhok will drive for the newly renamed Hispania Racing Team alongside Bruno Senna.
The 26 year old from Chennai becomes the second Indian driver to enter F1 after Narain Karthikeyan, who raced for Jordan in 2005. He is also brings the total of GP2 graduates on the F1 grid this year to 11, in other words almost half the field. This is quite a feather in the cap for the GP2 series.
The average age of the grid this year is now set at 27, which is quite mature. This is partly thanks to the three ‘golden oldies’: Rubens Barrichello (37), who will make his 300th Grand Prix start in Spa in August; Michael Schumacher (41) and Pedro de la Rosa (39). There are drivers spanning four decades with Schumacher born in the 1960s and Jaime Alguersuari born in the 1990s.
Chandhok is another driver in whom Bernie Ecclestone has taken a keen interest in recent years. He has had a bit of mixed time in GP2, but put in some very strong runs in the 2007 and 2008 seasons, with wins in Belgium and Germany and podiums in Monaco and Silverstone. He was once a test driver for the Campos team, out of which the HRT has been born.
Colin Kolles, the HRT team principal said, ““Everything is now in place after an impossible race against time to register the team’s name and I truly believe that we have an excellent platform to build on and move forward for a strong 2010 performance. Now, we need to work together. We need to learn together and keep developing as a team.”