London:
Team Lotus has appointed Karun Chandhok as a reserve driver for the 2011 Formula One season.

The 27-year-old Indian, who raced the first half of last season with Hispania, will return to the formula one seat joining Race Drivers Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli, Third
Driver Luiz Razia and Test Drivers Davide Valsecchi and Ricardo Teixeira.

"I've been talking to the team for quite a while about a role with them and I'm delighted we're now able to confirm that I will be driving for Team Lotus in 2011," Chandhok said.

Chandhok seemed to have been left with few options earlier this month when Lotus named Luiz Razia as their third driver.

However, the team announced today that the Indian will drive in Friday's first practice session of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

“These are very exciting times for Team Lotus and it's a real honour to be able to play a part in helping shape this team's future. I want to thank Tony, Din, Nasa, Riad and Mike
for having the faith in me to give me a chance to help the team develop and I'll do my best to repay that faith wherever I can," Chandhok added.

Team Lotus made its debut in Formula One last year but failed to score a point.

Team Principal Tony Fernandes termed Chandhok as the future of motor racing and said the team was excited about working with the Indian talent.

"This is another great day for Team Lotus. Karun's appointment to our team gives us not only his immense driving talent and F1 experience, both of which will help us develop
the car even further, but also brings one of the warmest, most professional personalities I have the pleasure of knowing into the Team Lotus family," he said.

The 27-year-old Indian admitted that he endured some tough time when he was in talks with various teams but nothing concrete was coming up.

When asked about his talks with Force India, Chandhok said, "I don't want to go into why things didn't work out with Force India. In terms of my long-term future I think this is
very good. I am not expecting that something great will happen over this weekend or next month or for that matter even the next six months.”

"It (Lotus) is a passionate new team. Myself and Tony share a common vision. He is very keen that more and more Asian drivers and teams come into Formula One, which is
great." Chandok said.

Chandhok will join Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli, third driver Luiz Razia and test drivers Davide Valsecchi and Ricardo Teixeira in Team Lotus.

(Agencies)