Life in the fast lane | Verve Magazine
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March 10, 2011

Life in the fast lane

Text by Nasrin Modak. Photograph Courtesy Tag Heuer

In a country obsessed with cricket, Karun Chandhok breaks the mould and gears up for the next season of Formula 1

Music is one of his passions and It’s my life…. by Bon Jovi is Karun Chandhok’s favourite song and quote when asked about what philosophy drives his life. And it’s really hard to believe that the 5’-11’’- tall, 28-year-old, Formula 1 driver who zips around race tracks, is actually pretty laidback and relaxed about life. He maintains a low profile, staying out of the Page 3 circuit and does not pit stop at nightclubs. What revs him up completely is his sport and anything to do with it. For him, F1 is not just about the glitz, glamour and grid girls. “Although there is a lot of that,” he smiles, ultimately it is all about the curved track and true speed.

For, as long as he can remember, all that Karun wanted to be was a Formula 1 driver. In fact, while he was growing up, all his nannies and babysitters who could barely speak English, were proficient in names like Prost, Senna, Mansell and Piquet courtesy Karun.  So, when he finally met his childhood hero Alain Prost in Bahrain last year, he could hardly believe that his idol had come to wish him luck ahead of his first race. Before that the first time he had driven an F1 car was in a test for Red Bull Racing. “It was just incredible – the amazing sensation of speed and sound is unforgettable,” he remembers.

On a perfect day off, Karun enjoys cycling, followed by brunch and watching sports on TV with friends. His best escape though is to his family home in Kodaikanal. “Pietrasanta on the west coast of Italy is another favourite,” he adds, where he can relax, listening to music he loves with no disturbances. On his iPod, you’ll find old-school rock bands like Bon Jovi and Killers, Kings of Leon and songs from Alicia Keys and Rihanna.

As the brand ambassador for TAG Heuer, he has learnt how to pay attention to detail and the importance of history and heritage. “I’ve been with TAG Heuer for a few years now. I’ve met some great people and done some really fun events. I look forward to many more ahead,” says Karun.

Karun would like to be remembered as an honest, decent bloke who was a Formula 1 race winner. So if it wasn’t F1 then…“I probably would’ve been a commentator for F1! I’ve done a bit of that now and most people seem to think I’m pretty good at it,” he says.

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