Karun Chandhok finally makes Team Lotus F1 switch

A winter of speculation finally ended on Tuesday when Team Lotus confirmed Karun Chandhok as the team's reserve driver.

It appeared the Indian's chance may have gone after test drives with the Hingham constructor at Jerez and Barcelona failed to materialise, while Davide Valsecchi, Luiz Razia and Ricardo Teixeira had apparently taken up the various back-up driver roles.

However, Team Lotus announced Chandhok will be the team's official reserve driver behind Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli for the coming season, and hopefully beyond.

'I've been talking to the team for quite a while about a role with them and I'm delighted we're now able to confirm that I will be driving for Team Lotus in 2011,' said Chandhok.

'The details of exactly which sessions I will be in the car for are being worked out now and after having spent some time with them at the recent pre-season tests I can see exactly how passionate everyone in Team Lotus is about taking this team back to the top of the F1 grid.

'These are very exciting times for Team Lotus and it's a real honour to be able to play a part in helping shape this team's future. I want to thank the shareholders and (chief technical officer) Mike Gascoyne for having the faith in me to give me a chance to help the team develop and I'll do my best to repay that faith wherever I can.'

Chandhok performed well for HRT last season, but when the team need extra funding he was unceremoniously dumped during the campaign for drivers bringing a larger pool of sponsorship with them.

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He is also no stranger to Norfolk, having partnered Bruno Senna in GP2 for Carleton Rode's iSport team in 2008.

The 27-year-old is expected to take part in a number of Friday practice sessions, including the opening session at this weekend's Formula One opener in Melbourne.

Team principal Tony Fernandes added: 'Karun's appointment to our team gives us not only his immense driving talent and F1 experience, both of which will help us develop the car even further, but also brings one of the warmest, most professional personalities I have the pleasure of knowing into the Team Lotus family.

'He is fiercely proud of his Indian heritage but he has a truly global outlook and I am honoured that Team Lotus is now giving one of India's brightest stars the chance to continue to develop his talent.'