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Formula E keen to come to India: Karun Chandhok

IANS 09 Nov 2014, 16:42:48 PM IST
IANS

New Delhi: India's only Formula E driver Karun Chandhok says the first ever fully electrically-powered racing series is raring to come to India.

"Formula E wants to come to India. They are very, very keen to come to India. (Formula E chief executive) Alejandro Agag, the FIA (international automobile federation), everybody involved wants to have a race in India," Chandhok, who drives for Mahindra Racing, told IANS in a telephonic interview from London.

The inaugural FIA Formula E Championship race was held in Beijing Sep 13 with the second race scheduled Nov 22 at Putrajaya, Malaysia.

"However, the big stumbling block I see -- and I guess which everybody sees -- is where are you going to do it. These are all street races. You need local government and police cooperation as you need to close out the streets for the race. For me, that is the issue," said the 30-year-old.

Last month, Mahindra Racing team principal Dilbagh Gill had told IANS in an interview that they are looking at the possibility of bringing the series to India for the third season -- 2016-2017. Gill had then said that the venue could be either Mumbai, New Delhi or Bengaluru.

"Yes, talks are on. Dilbagh is on a recce mission," said Chandhok.

As the discussion moved on to other topics, the issue of safety in motor racing came up.

There has been some talk lately about having covered cockpits in Formula racing after a couple of big accidents which took place both in Formula 1 and Formula E.

Marussia's Jules Bianchi had a massive accident at the Oct 5 F1 Japanese Grand Prix and is still in critical condition. A month earlier, a massive accident on the last lap of the inaugural Formula E Beijing ePrix between Nicolas Prost and Nick Heidfeld raised eyebrows about safety in the sport.

However, the Chennai-born driver is not in favour of covered cockpits.

"I am not a fan of covered cockpits. They fundamentally change the ethos of what single-seater racing is. We can all sit and say that they are safe but no one can actually prove it. I am not convinced that a closed cockpit would have saved Bianchi from the impact. It is my opinion," said Chandhok, who has taken part in 11 F1 races in 2010 and 2011.

"It is an easy thing to say but to resist an impact of a certain G-force, the thickness of the glass or material they have to use is going to be so thick that it will affect racing. The counter argument would be that they use it for fighter jets, but then they are not looking for millimetres which we are doing here."

Chandhok, along with Dragon Racing's Oriol Servia, was Oct 30 elected as a drivers' representative for Formula E.

Describing his role, the Chandhok said: "We will be engaging with a lot of people for various issues in Formula E but safety is, of course, top of the agenda."