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Page last updated at 15:58 GMT, Thursday, 25 February 2010

Indian Karun Chandhok in line for F1 debut with Campos

By Andrew Benson

Karun Chandhok
Chandhok will be the second Indian driver in the history of F1

India's Karun Chandhok is set to make his Formula 1 debut with the new Campos team this year, BBC Sport has learned.

The 26-year-old is understood to have secured his drive, and the deal will be announced imminently, sources say.

Chandhok, who raced in the GP2 feeder category last year, is expected to be partnered by Brazilian Bruno Senna.

The nephew of the late F1 legend Ayrton Senna signed for Campos last year and his manager has dismissed speculation that he could lose his seat.

Campos team boss Colin Kolles refused to confirm Senna's position when contacted by BBC Sport on Thursday, saying only that the team's driver line-up would be announced "soon".

But Senna's manager Chris Goodwin told BBC Sport: "There's no reason to think Bruno won't be part of it. It's clear as far as we're concerned. He signed a contract in October and he'll be in the car this season."

Chandhok, who has won two GP2 races in three years in the category, will be the second Indian driver to compete in F1 after Narain Karthikeyan took part in 19 races for Jordan in 2005.

His presence will be a fillip for F1 with an Indian Grand Prix expected to make its debut on the calendar in 2011.

Chandhok was Senna's team-mate in the iSport team in 2008, when the Brazilian narrowly missed out on winning the GP2 championship.

Kolles has insisted that Campos will be in Bahrain for the first race of the season on 14 March after a winter of uncertainty over their funding.

A management reshuffle earlier this month saw co-founder Jose Ramon Carabante take 100% ownership of the team and his partner Adrian Campos replaced as team principal by Kolles.

606: DEBATE
McLaren_Monkey

Senna was announced as a driver last year but there has been speculation that the team could instead take the Argentine Jose Maria Lopez.

Lopez has signed for fellow new team US F1, but they look almost certain not to race this year and his reputed £5.2m of sponsorship could be attractive for Campos.

But if Senna is retained as a race driver, there could still be room for Lopez in the test and reserve role.



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see also
US F1 team on verge of collapse
25 Feb 10 |  Formula 1


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