Nurburgring sees Jarno Trulli make way for Karun Chandhok at Team Lotus
Indian driver Karun Chandhok will replace Jarno Trulli at this weekend's German Grand Prix – but the Italian's future should still remain in Norfolk.
The Nurgburgring will be the first time Formula One veteran Trulli has not accompanied Heikki Kovalainen on the grid since the Hingham team made its debut at the start of last season.
As for Chandhok, the former GP2 star for Carleton Rode's Isport will race for the first time since being dropped by Hispania – coincidentally for the German Grand Prix, at Hockenheim 12 months ago.
But while the change came as something of a surprise – and may be repeated for the first ever Indian Grand Prix, in New Delhi at the end of October, Trulli is still part of Team Lotus' future according to team principal Tony Fernandes.
'Ever since I first met Karun I have been impressed with his whole demeanour – he is talented, passionate, committed and he brings great energy to the whole team, so I am delighted that we are giving him the chance to add even more value to us in the cockpit over a whole race weekend,' said Fernandes.
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'I also want to take this chance to thank Jarno for helping make Karun's opportunity this weekend possible. He has been extremely accommodating in stepping to the side for this race and our commitment to him is unwavering.
'I am delighted to confirm that we are in the process of negotiating an extension to his contract with us and we are all looking forward to unveiling the details of that very soon.
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'He is a key member of our team and I hope that we can give him a car as soon as possible that allows him to utilise his considerable talent to the full. For this weekend he will be on hand to lend his huge experience and support to Karun and I am sure Jarno, Heikki and Karun will do me, the whole team and all our fans very proud indeed.'
Trulli has found himself unable to keep pace with Kovalainen in qualifying this season, although the Italian still sits higher in the drivers' championship standings on countback.
The 37-year-old has complained all season of a power steering issue, which he claims has severely hampered his campaign – an upgrade to which is expected to finally come for the Hungarian Grand Prix next weekend.
'I'm looking forward to working with Karun this weekend and doing whatever I can to help him get the most out of his opportunity in Germany,' said the Italian in Team Lotus' official statement.
'It's great that the team is true to its word of helping develop young talent, particularly from parts of the word where it is even harder to break through into the top rung of motorsport, so I'll be there to give him guidance and assistance, in and out of the car.'
Chandhok joined the Hingham set-up during the winter as the team's official reserve driver, but has managed only a handful of laps in his three Friday practice sessions – due to a mix of driver error and poor reliability.
'Ever since I first joined the team I have been looking forward to this opportunity and I am determined to do my best to repay their faith in me and help the team progress, this season and for many years to come,' said the 27-year-old from Chennai.
'I am approaching the weekend in a very realistic frame of mind. I will be doing my best to push and to make sure I learn as much as possible all weekend, take each session as it comes and work as closely as I can with the engineers and the whole team to do the best job I can.
'Whatever happens, I am very excited about lining up on the grid on Sunday and I know there will be millions of Indian fans, and Team Lotus fans around the world, who will be behind me and the whole team, so I will do the best I can to give them something to cheer for.'
Norfolk's F1 outfit will be hoping for a strong showing in Germany after the bitter disappointment of a double reliability failure after just 10 laps of the British Grand Prix, at Silverstone earlier this month.
Chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne added: 'We will use Karun's feedback over the weekend as a comparison against Jarno's and Heikki's experiences this season with a number of aspects of the car, including the power steering system, to help us keep moving forward in 2011 and beyond.'