Karun Chandhok F1: All You Need to Know about the former Indian F1 Driver who now works as a F1 reporter for Sky Sports.
Karun Chandhok, 36, is only the second Indian to race in Formula 1, after Narain Karthikeyan. The Chennai-born driver is the son of Vicky Chandhok, founding president of the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI).
— BUDDHINTERNATIONAL (@IndianGPF1) January 22, 2016
But unlike how it seems to be, Karun did not have a smooth start to his racing career. He did not the requisite experience of karting, like most F1 drivers of this generation do. This is what Karun had to say about his early tryst with the most prestigious form of motor sport racing, speaking to the New Indian Express:
“I think people like Narain (Karthikeyan) and me, who grew up in India, missed a huge deal in our careers. I never went go-karting. Unlike guys like Lewis (Hamilton) and Nico (Rosberg) who had been karting since they were in their nappies. I still remember the first time F1 was telecasted live in India in 1993. It was the Grand Prix in France. But, I had been watching races since 1987. Dad would get us the recorded versions of the race, though they may have been at least a couple of weeks old.”
Karun’s calling to the world of Formula 1
And there was a point when his mother had to sell off paintings to pay for his tyres and equipment. And in spite of being an Indian, he never made it to the Force India team of Vijay Mallya, a family friend. His big call in F1 came when Red Bull Racing approached him to be a part of their test program. Then, in 2010, Hispania Racing F1 team (HRT) offered him a driving seat for the season. Chandhok made 10 starts for the Spanish team that season, in what was a breakthrough for the Indian, and his family.
“Dad was in a flood of tears because the years prior to my contract had been really hard. He is an eternal optimist and without him to sort things out and deal with the financial stress of motor racing, there’s no way I would have been able to do anything.”
Karun Chandhok likes it versatile
Apart from F1, Karun has also competed in the FIA World Endurance Championship, Le Mans and Formula E. He’s also been the Williams Heritage Driver, driving the team’s vintage racing cars in public events. He is now an expert F1 commentator, seen and heard mostly as a pit-lane reporter for Sky F1. Karun has also worked for the likes of BBC and Channel 4 in the past.
his accent is so nice though i have to agree
— josh 🪐 (@formulavetteI) September 6, 2020
“I’ve never taken up anything full time. In a way, I think it has allowed me to dabble in all areas of the sport. However, I am primarily a racing driver; that is the foundation of my career. Everything else I do comes from the experience and credibility that I have built over the years.”