Karun Chandhok Set to Stay with Williams and Channel 4 in 2018, Eyes IMSA Drive
'We want to grow the business'
Former Formula 1 driver Karun Chandhok has revealed that he will continue in his role with the Williams F1 Team in the Heritage division, while he will also stay on as the Channel 4 pundit/commentator for the 2018 F1 season.
The 33-year-old joined the Williams’ Heritage division in 2016 and his role was increased in 2017 where he was seen hosting Facebook Live session with Paul di Resta for the team’s official page. He had joined the Channel 4 broadcast team in 2016 as well, where he did commentary and reported from the pitlane.
“They [Channel 4] want me to carry on, so I probably will [do it],” he said exclusively. “[In Williams], I am involved with the business side of it. So, I am working with the team with Jonathan Williams and James Colgate - who is at the business development side to grow the business.
“We want to grow the business, where we have got clients now in America and so on. That’s been interesting and obviously I work with the marketing side on their social media and digital content as well. So, it’s been quite good and my project with Williams will [again] increase in 2018.”
The off-track activities continue to increase for Chandhok as he also manages India’s upcoming racer Arjun Maini through KC Management. Last year, Chandhok played a key role in helping Maini get the development role with the Haas F1 Team, which eventually helped Maini to have a run in the Ferrari’s simulator in its Italy HQ.
But for now Chandhok has no more time left in his hands to invest on any other Indian drivers, especially not the ones who are competing in a lower category than Formula 3. “I would like to pick and help drivers that have the right attitude and also they are at a certain level. I personally don’t have the time yet to spend in India scouting talent,” he said.
“Honestly, I am still too busy doing my own driving in sportscar, doing TV stuff for F1 plus the work with Williams. I am also doing projects with circuit design companies. So, I have got lots of things going on. I haven’t got time to go scout talent in India, so at this stage if the drivers leave India and get beyond that first rung on the ladder, then I am prepared to invest time in working with them.
“This means, if they go off and do F4 South East Asia or even if they do F4 in Europe, that’s the level that I haven’t got time to work with them. But I am happy to have phone conversations with them and their fathers, like Anish Reddy called me to talk about his son Tarun, and I have spoken to Khurshed Daruvala and his son Jehan.
“I have had dinner with them, where they wanted to pick my brains but no formal arrangements was made. I think it is a very important responsibility for people like myself and Narain [Karthikeyan] to help young drivers in India. It is so important to give back to the sport and that’s why I like working with these boys and if more drivers are out of India, it benefits us as a sport on the whole.”
When asked about his own driving, Chandhok promptly mentioned the 2018 Le Mans 24 Hours. Last year, he made a successful Le Mans return with Tockwith Motorsports in the LMP2 category alongside Phil Hanson and Nigel Moore. The trio completed 351 laps finishing 11th overall and ninth in LMP2 class.
For 2018, Chandhok wants to expand his driving and compete in America in the International Motor Sports Association-backed (IMSA) WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. He revealed that he is already in talks with ‘multiple teams’, but added that ‘nothing will happen before February’ since the sportscar season in Europe starts late this year.