Karun Chandhok, who is busy testing for the Formula E — world’s first electric racing series — due this September, takes some time out of his cramped schedule and, in a freewheeling chat with indianexpress.com, puts forth his views on Lewis Hamilton, the ongoing F1 season and the future of F1 in India. Excerpts:
We have been hearing a lot of things about FRICS(Front and Rear Interconnected Suspension) , does it really benefit the cars and the teams?
You know, if it didn’t benefit why would they use it? so definitely it benefits, but it’s a night and day thing. There has been a lot of talk and noise about it but it is the people in Germany who are the usual suspects. It’s nothing unusual. Mercedes are still on top and Red Bull, Mclaren and Ferrari are still following, so nothing has dramatically changed. I would say it was a point 2 or point 3 of a change per lap.
A noted F1 writer – Mark Hughes – after the German Grand Prix tweeted the FRICS has brought Red Bull closer to Mercedes. What is your take on that?
Mark is also speculating at the end of the day. He is also speculating like everybody else. Nobody knows. For instance now we will go to Budapest(Hungary) and the Red Bulls will be faster than the Mercedes because of high downforce of the circuit, I guarantee you. Whether it is FRICS or no-FRICS, Red Bull will be closer to Mercedes at Budapest because of the nature of the circuit. I think people are already getting excited.
Can Red Bull get close to Mercedes this season?
Red Bull is not going to win the championship this year. I don’t think there is any chance of that. The driver’s championship will be won by either Nico( Rosberg) or Lewis(Hamilton), so there is no question about that. Certain races they (Red Bulls) will be closer to the Mercedes. Budapest will be one of them and Suzuka (Japan) will be another one. There will be other circuits like Belgium spa or Monza where Red Bull will have no chance.
Why such difference this year?
It’s all about the engine power. We all know Mercedes has the best engine in the grid and Renault has the weakest.
What changes had the Mercedes made in their engine? They have been flying this season.
I have been making this point from last year – teams having engine and shaft in the same roof will benefit, and they (Mercedes) have done it to the best effect. Their engineers have done a good job. But then it’s not about the engine. You see Mclaren has the same engine but they are nowhere closer. I think it’s about the shaft and the aerodynamics, and there they have been doing continued…