Karun Chandhok admits he would ideally like to drive for Force India next season as he believes it would be easier to attract sponsors if he was at an Indian team.
Chandhok – only the second Indian driver to race in F1 – is of the opinion that Indian sponsors shy away from sponsoring Formula One because there is no synchronicity between him as an Indian driver and the Indian-owned Force India outfit.
” If you look at it from a commercial point of view, I think at the moment sponsors in India are slightly conflicted,” explained Chandhok.
“Do they back an Indian driver who clearly will have more support from the public and is getting more media attention, but unfortunately at the moment is at the back of the grid?
“Or do they back an Indian team without any real Indian influence apart from the name and the team owner, but which is further up the grid?
“And I think because of that [dilemma], sponsors are sitting on the fence on both counts and not committing to either of us.
“If you look at what’s on his [Mallya’s] car and what’s on our car, his has got all his own companies and mine has got Brazilian companies!” he added.
With Delhi set to join the F1 calendar in the future, the 26-year-old feels that the partnership would be incredibly beneficial for the success of the race.
“A lot of what happens to the sport in that part of the world depends on us a little bit, and I think if you have an Indian driver in an Indian car at the Indian Grand Prix, it’s a no-brainer in terms of ticket sales,” he implored.
But it’s not only on nationality that Chandhok believes he should drive for Force India, but also on the basis of his performances this season, with Mallya apparently impressed by his displays.
“I think this year he’s been quite surprised because I’ve been competitive against Bruno and I think generally I’ve done quite a good job.
“I think that’s given him a bit more of a rubber stamp and more of an idea of what I could do.
“This is just what I hear from people around him; we haven’t really had a conversation about it yet,” he added.
Not one to completely burn is bridges with his current employers, Chandhok conceded that staying with Hispania Racing may not be the worst idea with the team heading in a positive direction.
“It’s a slightly long term as to what this year can do for my future,” he said.
“If these guys carry out the plans which the [team owners] Carabantes have talked to me about, they can be a very competitive team in the future.
“So far they seem happy with what I’m doing. Jose Ramon is very keen to try to do something for next year as well,” he concluded.