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Rediff.com  » Sports » Chandhok content to cut his F1 teeth in public

Chandhok content to cut his F1 teeth in public

April 01, 2010 15:49 IST

Karun ChandhokKarun Chandhok is well aware of the monumental task ahead in his rookie Formula One season after he was thrown in at the deep end in a Hispania car devoid of pre-season testing.

The 26-year-old's first foray into Formula One came in qualifying for the season opener in Bahrain and although his race ended with a first-lap retirement, he nursed the car through to an encouraging 14th place finish in Melbourne on Sunday.

The steep learning curve continues with the third round of the season in Malaysia this weekend but Chandhok is content to make the ascent a small step at a time as he gets to first understand his car as well as the motor racing's leading series.

"Finishing in Melbourne was an achievement in itself. The more miles we do the more we get out of the car. The other drivers could test in Valencia, Barcelona and Jerez but we didn't get that opportunity," Chandhok told reporters on Thursday.

"Unfortunately we are testing in public. It's not easy but we are doing the best that we can," he added.

Chandhok finished a distant five laps behind race winner Jenson Button in Melbourne while his team mate Bruno Senna retired after just four laps, but he sees the result as a minor victory for a Spanish team with such limited experience.

"Morale wise it was good for the boys. The mechanics worked on the car two nights straight in Bahrain and two nights straight in Melbourne. So it's good for them to put all that work into the car and see it get to the finish," he added.

"For us we were able to learn a lot about the car. There is so much to learn. For me, it's strange as I have never been lapped before in my whole career.

"It was quite difficult with the drizzle at the start of the race, having to drive off the racing line was tricky as I didn't want to get in the other guys' way," he added.

MORE RELIABLE

Looking ahead to the Malaysian Grand Prix this weekend, Chandhok offered a realistic assessment of his chances. "It's highly unlikely that we will be competitive but we are performing upgrades all the time as we try to get the car more reliable," Chandhok said.

"We have good people on board from some of the big teams with recent F1 experience. Rome wasn't built in a day, we need to put this structure in place and get everyone working in the same direction.

"They all have their respective idea how other teams did things they now have to put that experience together and make sure it's unified," he added.

As with all new teams in Formula One, the gap between them and the more established names can take years to bridge but with two other rookie outfits on the starting grid this year, Chandhok is looking at those as his major rivals.

"I'm not here to stay at the back of the grid for the rest of the season," he said.

"I would not have signed if I didn't think there was the potential to at least compete with the other new teams and hopefully by the second half of the season we can start to be better than the other new teams," he added.
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