Über Desi

Keeping it real, desi ishtyle

Karun dropped for the German GP and why he is coming back.

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A month ago, there was a lot of chatter about Karun facing the axe from the HRT team, for a lack of funds. While similar rumors had been circulating since the start of the season, there were a couple of incidents that week, which made me believe them. First there was Karun talking up the idea of an Indian driver at Force India F1 and how it would attract sponsors. But the second and more significant event was Karun’s mom, Chitra Chandhok re-tweeting fan’s messages referring to the rumor about him being dropped, because of a lack of funds.

Karun Chandhok, HRT

When Bruno Senna was dropped for the British GP, I wondered how and why he was dropped in favor of Karun. Bruno obviously has way more following and seemed in a much better financial position than Karun. Later that weekend, news broke that Karun had a new sponsor. Jaypee group, the people who are building the circuit in Delhi for the Indian GP in 2011, at which point I thought that it was all well.

Today we hear the disappointing news that Karun was dropped and as always, we have no reasons. Adding insult to injury, no one, including Karun himself, is sure about when he will be back.

At the moment we are talking only about Hockenheim but with four drivers and two cars, it is probably inevitable I will miss some more races. We will sit down after Hockenheim and talk about the next race, which is in Hungary the following week. Then we have the summer break and we will see what happens. It is a little bit up in the air. The team are looking towards 2011. I have talked with Jose Ramon Carabante [team owner] about their plans for 2011 today so it’s not like there’s been a total breakdown between us or anything. It’s just something they want to do now.

The norm in F1 is for the driver to not “talk”, but Karun is changing all that and in the process winning a bunch of fans, not just outside the F1 fraternity, but the hardcore insiders. Instead of trash talking, he had something constructive to say.

As a racing driver it’s obviously not great to be missing races but I’m not in contention for the world championship or in a points battle over anything. I came into this team looking to establish myself as a credible, respectable Formula 1 driver and I’ve done that. I expect to be back for some races later in the year. The team gave me the chance to be in F1 and I have to respect and support this decision.

Like Narain, I think Karun could have proved a lot more, had he been put in a better car. But one thing is for sure, he is a very cool customer (he is tweeting his weekend plans) and has made a bunch of people love him, by being himself. For that one reason, I’d love to see him back on the grid.

But one thing I’ve known as an F1 fan is that Karun is one of the few people, who is loved by all. Maybe it was his first interview at the start of the season or the fact he is open or that he deals with things well, but judging by the reaction form the general public, it’s only a matter of time before he comes back. And would not be surprised if he shows up in the Force India cockpit next year.

Ps: If you have not, I suggest you take a look at Karun’s blog posts. Specifically the one where he talks about what it took for him to get on the grid. I’ve never read anything close to this from any of the current F1 drivers.

Narain does well in his first Nascar race. Finishes 13th.

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Narain's truck, beat up after his first race.

Narain Karthikeyan managed to finish his first Nascar race, in 13th position. Given that he was the first Indian driver to move from open wheel racing, Nascar had a lot of coverage. That and he got together with a few others trucks during the race. Then again, that’s normal with Nascar.

Narain managed to finish his first practice at the 31st spot and the second practice at 21st. With Qualifying rained out, Nascar used something called Owner points (I’m assuming it’s equivalent of Team points in F1) to place him 11th.

All said and done, he managed to have a great debut. Although people have to get used to his name.

Here is the first report out after the race.

Narain Karthikeyan made history at Martinsville as he became the first driver born in India to make a NASCAR national series start. Karthikeyan was on the lead lap until Lap 200, when contact with Clay Greenfield sent the No. 60 around and Karthikeyan was unable to get it re-fired, dropping him a lap. Karthikeyan was able to get his lap back though, and finished 13th.

I’ve never been a big fan of Nascar, but as an Indian motorsports fan, I had to follow Narain’s progress and I was not disappointed.

From the sounds of it Narain will be doing a few more races this year.

Now if someone would educate him about good Chicken wings, I’d be happy.

Narain is also active on twitter @narainracing, make sure you follow him.

Karun Chandhok get’s an F1 seat.

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After weeks of rumors, dropping hints and uncertainty, Karun Chandhok as confirmed by the HRT F1 team as their second driver.

HRT F1, which was originally named Campos Meta, will be the final team on the grid and the only team that has not tested their car yet. Karun will be partnering with Bruno Senna, Ayrton Senna’s nephew. Oddly enough, Bruno who was confirmed before Karun get’s the number 21 and Karun get’s the number 20 on his car.

With two rookies, a car designed by Dallara, who have not built an F1 car in a couple of decades and have not done any testing, I’m not going to expect instant results from the team. Having said that, Lotus F1 and Virgin Racing, the other two new teams have not had an amazing outing either.

Look for HRT F1 to make progress and possibly “steal” a few points later in the year.

Here is the second Indian to make it into F1 and for your viewing pleasure, I have the video from the launch. And if you did not know, Bruno, Karun’s team mate at HRT F1 was also his team mate in GP2 at iSport a couple of years ago.

Desis gone wild – The story of Raj Rajaratnam Vs. Preetinder Bharara

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When it rains, it pours cats and dogs. That seems to be moral of the story in the past few months.

Back when we started UD, finding Desis in the media was a big deal. I remember posts in SM and SAJA titled “Identify this brown person”, not anymore. Without over analyzing the situation, the fact is that we find stories about our people everywhere. And it was only a matter of time before they showed up on the wrong side of the financial meltdown.

The Sri Lankan Raj Rajaratnam was arrested a little while ago for alleged financial misconduct. That in itself would get the desi blogosphere going, but here is the kicker – Raj isn’t the only desi in the story.

It is alleged that Raj played trouble maker with his college mates from Wharton – Rajiv Goel and Anil Kumar, a couple of big wigs. You can read the entire article here.

Authorities say Mr. Rajaratnam conspired with Intel Capital employee Rajiv Goel and Anil Kumar, a director of McKinsey & Co. global management-consulting firm, between 2006 and 2008. All three received M.B.A.’s from the Wharton School. All have denied wrongdoing.

If that was not enough brown you, the prosecutor in the case is another desi. Mr. Preetinder Bharara, who was born in India and was recently sworn in as the US attorney for Manhatan. His views on immigrants and the law?

“We should remember that in each of those acts of migration—repeated hundreds of thousands of time—lies a quantum of courage and will and daring that few of us will ever have to summon,” he said, according to a news release from the bar association. “…South Asian lawyers have a special obligation and a unique perspective—because of who we are, where we came from, and how we got here. … We must try to use our profession to bring justice and equality and dignity to those who need help.”

If I had a few million rupees, I’d produce a reality TV show, call is Desis gone wild and make a dent on the Bollywood movie industry. Then again, if pigs could fly…

Know of any more desis involved in this story? Drop us a comment and enlighten us.

Following Force India at Monza – Live blogging the GP

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It’s a shame that Hamilton lost his position on the last lap of the race. Nice to see Rubens winning another race and Brawn getting a 1-2. Also nice to see that Ferrari are picking every point possible.

Force India did well for a car without KERS and had Sutil managed to have a better stop, chances are he might have found himself ahead of Raikonnen, but that’s something that comes with experience.

Fisi, who started for Ferrari this race, finished just outside the points, at least he did not come last.

6:20 A.M. PST: Raikonnen finishes 3rd and Sutil finishes 4th for Force India. More points for the team and an awesome race.

6:19 A.M. PST: Final lap begins. Hamilton is going to get on the Podium for … nevemind, hamilton spins

6:17 A.M. PST: Sutil is close to the Ferrari of Kimi Raikonnen, but its going to take a lot to pass him.

6:12 A.M. PST: Sutil lost some pace and is now back on the Ferrari’s tail.

6:05 A.M. PST: Either Sutil is driving very well or Kimi is dreaming and not driving.

6:03 A.M. PST: Sutil is 4/10 behind Raikonnen. Can he take him? But Raikonnen has KERS.

6:02 A.M. PST: Sutil, currently in 5th is 1 second behind Kimi.

6:00 A.M. PST: Sutil hit his mechanic, not that cool, but looks like all is well. The mechanics are in the back taking a smoke break. Ha ha ha.

5:58 A.M. PST: Both of them decide to pit at the same time. Nice.

5:57 A.M. PST: Raikonnen and Sutil have the exact identical pace on lap 35.

5:56 A.M. PST: Sutil skips a chicane, if he repeats that 2 more times, he is going to get a drive thru penalty.

5:55 A.M. PST: Hamilton comes in. Raikonnen will take the lead. He joins behind both the Brawns. This could mean that Kimi could be on the podium

5:50 A.M. PST: confirmation that Liuzzi had a gearbox related issue.

5:50 A.M. PST: I do not see Sutil on the podium for this race. As I see it Barichello, Button and Hamilton will finish the race in that order, unless someone makes a mistake.

5:49 A.M. PST: Sutil is currently 3rd with a 6.5 second gap from Hamilton. Raikonnen is ahead on track by 1.5 seconds.

5:48 A.M. PST: Hamilton leads Rubens by 5 seconds. Rubens is on a one stop and Hamilton is on a 2 stopper.

5:47 A.M. PST: Rubens is in, Hamilton takes the lead.

5:45 A.M. PST: Button is pitting. Can Sutil get ahead of him on track?

5:43 A.M. PST: Sutil is currently 5th, 20.5 seconds gap to the race leader Rubens. Podium, maybe, winning the race is out of the bag, unless something untoward happens.

5:40 A.M. PST: Is this going to affect how Sutil drives the rest of the race? Commentators think the chicane jumping might be affecting the transmission. I agree with them, these cars are built with a very minimal room for error.

5:39 A.M. PST: Ouch, he lost drive, looks like something related to the Transmission. Dammit, he could have gotten to the points.

5:38 A.M. PST: Waiting for a replay of Liuzzi, not sure whats wrong.

5:38 A.M. PST: Lap 20, Liuzzi stopped. WTF.

5:34 A.M. PST: Rubens now leads Button by 2.4 and Lewis by 11.4 seconds. If he get’s a 15 second advantage, the race might be his. Looks like their strategy is working. It’s awesome to see the Brawns back at the front.

5:33 A.M. PST: Looks like Ferrari short fueled Kimi, because they are afraid of Force India. This is awesome. Either way, I win. :)

5:32 A.M. PST: Kimi is into the pits. Ferrari do a 7.3 second pit stop. He joins at p5, right behind Liuzzi. Force India is doing pretty well.

5:30 A.M. PST: Now Heiki in the factory Mercedes is chasing Sutil in the customer Mercedes. Looks like Kingfisher is getting a lot of TV time, Mallya is a smart business man. I know I had a post about it when he decided to buy the team.

5:29 A.M. PST: Sutil Pits. 7.3 seconds, nice pit, joins in 8th place.

5:28 A.M. PST: And Hamilton is being chased down by Tonio Liuzzi. Less than a second between them.

5:27 A.M. PST: Hamilton’s pit stop puts Sutil up to second. But everyone has to pit…

5:25 A.M. PST: Lap 14, Sutil is still holding the gap. Hamilton has pulled a 3.5 second lead, now pitting.

5:23 A.M. PST: The gap is now up to 8/10th of a second between Sutil and Kimi.

5:21 A.M. PST: Sutil is gaining on Kimi, the gap has come down to 7/10th of a second.

5:20 A.M. PST: Chandok and Mallya on screen again and they cit to the rear wing of Sutil and the Kingfisher logo.

5:15 A.M. PST: Sutil does fastest first sector of 27.7.

5:09 A.M. PST: Sutil is holding 3rd and maintaining distance from Rubens who is in 4th. This was expected, given that he did not have KERS

5:07 A.M. PST: Fisi is upto 11th, pretty cool. Vettel is working pretty hard.

5:05 A.M. PST: Liuzzi takes McLaren (Heiki) Nice.

5:02 A.M. PST: Karun Chandok is standing next to Vijay Mallya… Nice.

4:35 A.M. PST: Found the Jani – BMW link

4:30 A.M. PST: It’s also a shame that both BMW’s did not manage the get out of Q3. In related news, I hear rumors that Neel Jani’s backers (his dad?) wants to bid for the BMW team.

4:25 A.M. PST: Peter Windsor is back doing the interviews? I thought they took him out once he went public with his USF1 plans. Hmmm… (listening to the post qualy interview)

And Adrian needs to talk more (and all F1 drivers / engineers etc. need to stop saying “for sure”) the man is going to do a lot more interviews.

4:20 A.M. PST: And Karun has not really opened up so far, but he is on twitter and I hope he drops more than just subtle hints.

4:10 A.M. PST: The past few days, there has been a lot of talk about Karun Chandok not being hired to replace Fisi. Honestly, I think Karun has a great future, but it still is a little early. Besides Bernie keeps talking about Karun, partly because the more you hear his name, the more expectation there is, but also because Bernie makes money from F1. And having an Indian driver for an Indian team will be a great pitch and will attract way more support to get the Indian GP and more viewers.

4:00 A.M. PST: Fuel Levels – Given the fuel levels, Kimi needs to get past Lewis and Sutil to have an advantage. Getting around Sutil should not be an issue, Force India’s do not have KERS, but its going to be difficult to get around Hamilton.

The Brawn’s are running a pretty heavy load, expect to see them in the points, unless someone does something stupid.

Given Force India’s recent pace, I expect both cars to finish in the points. Having said that the lack of KERS might impede them from getting onto the podium, well that and Adrian Sutil’s luck.

3:51 A.M. PST: With more than an hour left before the Pre-race starts rain looks like a possibility.

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