Jarno Trulli will not race at the Nurburgring after Team Lotus announced that reserve driver Karun Chandhok will race car number 21 this weekend.
He becomes the second Friday driver to take up a race seat after Daniel Ricciardo took Narain Kartikeyan’s seat at HRT. Both Ricciardo and Chandhok are Red Bull backed drivers.
Trulli has been struggling with the power steering this season, which has prevented him from having the precision in his steering which he needs to get the most out of the car, especially in qualifying.
It is not clear at this stage how long this situation will last.
Team principal Tony Fernandes said that this move did not mean that Trulli had been dropped, “He (Trulli) has been extremely accommodating in stepping to the side for this race and our commitment to him is unwavering, ” said the Malaysian.
“I am delighted to confirm that we are in the process of negotiating an extension to his contract with us and we are all looking forward to unveiling the details of that very soon. He is a key member of our team and I hope that we can give him a car as soon as possible that allows him to utilise his considerable talent to the full.”
Trulli made some very downbeat noises about his season last month and said that it would be better to leave F1 than to continue as it was going for him at the moment.
This weekend gives Chandhok a chance to show what he can do in an F1 car. He had limited appearances last season with Hispania, at the start of their first season when the car was half developed and unreliable.
This season has has done some Friday morning running only and has been more prominent as a broadcaster with Radio 5 Live than as a racing driver.
The 27 year old Indian is a two times race winner in GP2 and a very popular member of the F1 community. It will not be easy for him to go up against Heikki Kovalainen, who has put in some very strong performances lately, including making it into the second part of qualifying on two occasions.