Jarno Trulli has handed over the reins of his Lotus T128 to the team’s test and reserve driver Karun Chandhok, with the team confirming that the Indian driver will replace the veteran at this weekend’s German Grand Prix.
In making the announcement, the team gave little away for its reasons for suddenly deciding to give Chandhok more mileage, which could lead to a rise in speculation that an increasingly disenchanted Trulli could be heading for retirement.
Not so, claims team boss Tony Fernandes, who was at pains to stress that the veteran remains very much part of the team’s line-up into the future, even going so far as to indicate that Trulli will remain on board with the team next year.
“I am delighted to confirm that we are in the process of negotiating an extension to his (Trulli’s) contract with us and we are all looking forward to unveiling the details of that very soon,” Fernandes is quoted as saying.
Trulli has struggled all season with an apparent deficiency in the T128’s steering, which the Italian has complained continuously about since the car was launched.
The team is currently in the throes of developing a new power steering system in time for the following race in Hungary, when it is believed that Trulli will be returning to the cockpit.
Fernandes added that Trulli was “extremely accommodating” in stepping aside for Chandhok to have a run.
[Image via Karun Chandhok]