I met Karun Chandhok during my time as communications manager at Dubai Autodrome, he is a good guy, one of the lads and a true professional.
He gave it a solid crack at being a Formula 1 driver and during that journey, our paths crossed when the GP2 Asia Series came to Dubai in 2008, driving for Durango.
He was on a hot streak late in the 2007 GP2 Series Championship which included a victory at the daunting Spa-Francorchamps. Respect.
He was an up and coming driver racing in the F1 feeder series during an era of big fields (27 cars) and some very talented drivers on the grid – eight of them became F1 drivers at some point – with Timo Glock champion that year.
The first weekend at the Autodrome Karun finished seventh in the Feature race and third in the Sprint race. The bloke could drive.
But what stood out for me, throughout the week of the build-up and race weekend, Karun was always up for a soundbite and photo op… and there were many as the interest from Indian media was huge at the time.
He was always easy going and never too busy to greet, or answers questions and simply avail himself when required with media activities with no fuss and often little notice.
Thereafter, his Formula 1 career amounted to 11 grand prix starts with backmarkers HRT and Lotus. As with many promising race drivers money proved to be the final crippling stumbling block and what might have been wasn’t.
Instead, we have the good fortune of Karun chatting to us during the Sky F1 TV broadcast, which I am privy to thanks to my F1TV Pro.
After four days of testing, I can say that the Sky F1 crew kept me entertained. Okay, there were conspiracy theories, too much reading into test performance etc etc, but all good banter told in good spirit and their unique inside knowledge.
All interesting, the type of stuff you and your mates would chat about – pub talk, braai praat, BBQ chat, whatever – it comes across pretty natural because here we have a crew of guys and gals reporting on the coolest sport in the world as if they are talking to their mates, with ardour.
It kept me entertained for 32 hours of testing! Bravo!
Having said that, I cannot deny that I found Ted Kravitz to be a good listen too, but something has happened to him and he appears to be no longer part of the Sky F1 team. More on this as info becomes available…
Sure there are people that are upset that Ted was ditched, and this is understandable, but the despicable trolling and unacceptable bad-mouthing of Karun is just another one of those ‘slow-head-shaking WTF are we becoming’ moments…
I have mentioned it before and repeat: Karun brings fresh energy to the commentary team, he is enthusiastic, knowledgeable and calls it as he sees it which might get him some paddock scowls, but credit to him for venturing off the politically correct speak.
He knows our sport and I take great pleasure in listening to him do his thing. A 5-star addition to an already stellar F1 reporting team.
Been a fun day of reading the trolls abuse – this one has been my favourite. He actually asks if Sky or I want an “expansion” of why I’m ‘shit’ 😂😂🤔🤔🤷🏽♂️🤷🏽♂️…. pic.twitter.com/1BzR5DNEtN
— Karun Chandhok (@karunchandhok) February 23, 2019