Only two weeks after the first seat change of the season occurred at Hispania, another – albeit temporary – swap was revealed yesterday afternoon.
Team Lotus announced that for the German Grand Prix, Karun Chandhok will be standing in for veteran Jarno Trulli.
The Indian last raced at the British Grand Prix for Hispania twelve months ago, before being dropped for the sponsored Sakon Yamamoto. It appears on the surface that Chandhok’s appearance this weekend is more to do with driver evaluation at Lotus rather than anything sponsor related.
Indeed Trulli’s off-colour performances throughout 2011 have raised questions about his future with the Anglo / Malaysian team and with Alexander Rossi also waiting in the wings, Trulli could be on borrowed time.
Admittedly, the Italian has complained vociferously about a lack of feel from his power steering all season – each “fix” has yet to cure the problems. Heikki Kovalainen endured similar issues in the early stages of the season, but has since adapted to the issue.
A further fix for the problem is expected for the Hungarian Grand Prix in one week’s time.
As for Chandhok, it is unlikely that the Indian will be a match for Kovalainen this weekend – one solid year out of a race seat can do much to temporarily blunt a driver’s race craft.
However, it is believed that Chandhok may be back in the seat for the inaugural Indian Grand Prix in October, leading to the impression that this temporary swap is also governed by the need to give the 27-year-old seat time.
The other Indian on the grid, Narain Karthikeyan, was dropped by Hispania at Silverstone, but may also reappear in Delhi later this year.