Tony Fernandes is half-Indian but he has taken the difficult decision not to run Karun Chandhok in this weekend’s Indian Grand Prix.
“While all the emotional reasons for him driving were right,” said Fernandes. “We were conscious that the limited running he has had in the car this season, largely due to the weather conditions that have hit most of his FP1 sessions, has not given him the best preparation for this race. So we have taken the very difficult decision not to run him in this weekend.”
Team Lotus is in fight for 10th place in the Constructors’ Championship, which may not sound that important, except that the difference in revenues next year between 10th and 11th is believed to be a very considerable amount of money. These things are clouded in secrecy but what is known is that the teams got a prize fund last year of around $658 million. This is divided up in three ways: known as Column 1, Column 2 and Column 3. There is $20 million taken off the top for the two Column 3 teams which finish 11th and 12th in the Championship. Half of the money is then put into the Column 1 fund and the other half into the Column 2 fund. Column 1 money is divided up based on historical results. It is not clear exactly who gets what, but the 10th team is going to get at least $20 million. The Column 2 prize fund is based on results this year, with the 10th team getting four percent of the money. Four percent of the Clumn 2 prize fund last year was around $13 million. Thus 10th place in worth in the region of $33 million, while 11th is worth just $10 million. Given that the fight for that money revolves around one of the three small teams getting a minor placing in one of the last races, it is an important fight. At the moment Team Lotus is 10th thanks to three 13th places and four 14ths. HRT has one 13th and one 16th; and Virgin has two 14th and three 15ths. If one of the teams scores a 12th placed finish it will jump to 10th in Constructors’ Championship.
Chandhok raced for Team Lotus at German Grand Prix, standing in for Jarno Trulli. He finished 20th.