India's new Formula One entrant Karun Chandhok has thanked Bernie Ecclestone for helping him to fulfill his lifelong dream.
Chandhok will become only the second Indian to compete in Formula One when he drives in this weekend's season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.
The 26-year-old signed a last-minute deal with Hispania Racing last week, but their car has missed all of pre-season testing due to financial problems.
Despite an unremarkable record in GP2 over the last three years, Chandhok now finds himself lining up alongside the likes of Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton.
"Bernie has always been a superb pillar of support to me and my family. It's amazing how much that man can do in a single day," The Sun quoted Chandok, as saying.
"This last winter has been very hard and it's taken us a while to get a deal sorted, so there are always times when you have doubts but in the end it all worked out okay.
"Now it's just an unbelievable feeling. I am absolutely thrilled to be able to fulfill a lifelong dream to break into Formula One," he said.
"We've been working for so many years for this opportunity, and now we've finally made it, it feels a bit surreal to be honest. I think it will only fully sink in I am going to be on the same grid as world champions like Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso when I get to Bahrain," Chandok added.