Karun Chandhok will not be racing in the Indian Grand Prix, despite high hopes that he would return to the cockpit for his home race.
Team Lotus boss Tony Fernandes had said last month that he would have liked Chandhok to race in the inaugural Indian race alongside Heikki Kovalainen. But Fernandes said on Tuesday that it is vital for the team to maintain its performance levels in order to secure 10th place in the standings.
With Chandhok not having been able to drive in dry conditions as much as desired, the team has decided Jarno Trulli will keep his racing seat. Chandhok will be driving in the opening practice session on Friday, though.
"From the team perspective, the key goal for us this weekend is to maintain the performance levels we saw in the last two races and while I am sure there will be fans in India who want to see Karun race for us on Sunday we had to make the best decision for the future of the team," said Fernandes. "While all the emotional reasons for him driving were right we were conscious that the limited running he has had in the car this season – largely due to the weather conditions that have hit most of his FP1 sessions – has not given him the best preparation for this race, so we have taken the very difficult decision not to run him in the race this weekend.
"It is absolutely vital that we secure 10th place in 2011 to give us the platform to keep growing and, despite the fact that Karun's performance levels have continued to improve every time he has driven for us in 2011, it was considered too much pressure to put on Karun to drive in his first home race, deal with all the attention he would have had and be able to perform at the same level as either of our regular race drivers over the whole weekend.
"For that reason, we had to take the pragmatic decision to put our faith in the experience and pace we have in Jarno and Heikki, and are confident they will continue to perform at the level they have over the last two years with us. While this is obviously not the decision Karun wanted us to take he understands that we have to take the long-term view and do so in the best interests of the team.
"He also understands that his relationship with our team is not about just one race, it is about growing together and while this is an historic event, there will be many opportunities to race in India in the future, and he is in the best possible place with us to take advantage of those chances in seasons to come."