Bernie Ecclestone has urged the Indian press and public to give Karun Chandhok time to settle into Formula 1 and get up to speed.
Chandhok completed an eleventh-hour deal with the new Hispania team, but will go to the Bahrain Grand Prix without any preseason testing mileage. With growing enthusiasm for F1 in India ahead of the nation's inaugural grand prix next season, Ecclestone said he was delighted to see Chandhok on the grid, but warned against unrealistic early expectations.
"I am very happy today to see that Karun has finally secured his place on the Formula 1 grid," said Ecclestone in a statement. "It's been a bit last minute, but the main thing is that he is there and with a team that should provide him stability and a chance to learn.
"Formula 1 is a very tough business, with the best drivers in the world competing in the best cars and on the most challenging race circuits in the world. That is why it is the pinnacle of sport and, while I believe it's going to take Karun until midseason to show his potential, I wish him all the very best for this season and look forward to seeing the Indian media and public get behind him this year."
India is a key market for F1's future expansion, and Ecclestone acknowledged that Chandhok's arrival was therefore well-timed.
"India is rapidly growing to be one of the most important and powerful players in the world of business, culture and sport and, at FOM, we look at India very seriously," he said. "We have an Indian F1 team on the grid, we will have an Indian Grand Prix thanks to the Jaypee Group in 2011 and so it seems only right that there should be an Indian driver in Formula 1."