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Home > Sports > Formula One > Report

Testing alongside Schumacher was special: Chandhok

November 15, 2007 12:05 IST

Karun Chandhok

Karun Chandhok on Wednesday said it was a dream come true to turn out alongside seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher [Images] on the race track after successfully completing his first test session in a Formula One car.

The Indian driver was given the opportunity to test alongside Grand Prix star David Coulthard by the Red Bull Racing team, during a three-day test session at the Catalunya Circuit on the outskirts of Barcelona, Spain.

"I had an exciting time over these past two days and I am pleased that the team was satisfied with the technical feedback I provided them," said Chandhok on Wednesday, at the end of the test.

"For me it has been a dream come true to be out on track with the likes of Michael Schumacher [making a two day comeback from retirement to test for Ferrari [Images]] and David Coulthard. David has been very open and approachable which was a great help."

Chandhok's programme involved testing new electronics systems that are being introduced under new rules for next year which ban electronic driver aids.

"Although it is a big event having a first drive in a Formula 1 car, I had so much work to do that I did not have time to sit and think about what an important thing this was for me," he added.

"I just got on with the job in hand. The first time I took the car down pit lane to go out on track was a special moment and in all honesty, I think my Dad was more nervous than I was. On the first day, I did not get so many laps completed, but the final day was much more productive and I enjoyed working with Renault on the engine side. I think my recent experience of racing a car without driver aids such as traction control, during my past season in the GP2 championship was beneficial to the team."

From GP2 to F1 is quite a step up in terms of the performance and package on offer, but Chandhok was not fazed by it: "To be honest, the power of the engine and the brakes was not so different. For me the big difference came from the aerodynamics, as the downforce and the high speed grip is just astounding."

"Overall, I really enjoyed the two days and I have to thank the team and Red Bull who helped me all the way along. It was a nice feeling to see my name up on the timing sheets with all the other guys. Hopefully it won't be long until I find myself a race seat of my own here in Formula 1."

Following the two-day testing in Barcelona Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner said they are pleased with Chandhok's contribution.

"He acquitted himself well and contributed significantly to our winter development  programme. Our regular test driver was unavailable for this test session due to another commitment and Karun was an obvious choice to stand in for him, given the potential shown in GP2 this year, when he won a race at Spa. On top of that, he has been a member of the Red Bull family for a couple of years now and so we were very happy to provide him with this opportunity to make his Formula 1 test debut."

After this eye-opening experience, it's back to the real world for Chandhok.

"Now I am concentrating on finalising my GP2 drive for the 2008 season. I want to land a drive with a top team and try and win as many races as possible."

Formula One: The Complete Coverage