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The parent trap

8 months ago

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Karun Chandhok | Racing driver


31 October 2023

I took our oldest son to the kart track at Whilton Mill a few days ago. It was his second time having a little drive and it’s weirdly opened a floodgate of thoughts and introspection as I write this, flying across the Atlantic towards the Mexican Grand Prix.

Ever since our first son was born, people have asked whether my kids are going to be racing drivers. I come from a motorsport family: mine was the third generation to compete so I guess a lot of people assume I’d be pushing my kids towards racing. In reality, I wasn’t pushed towards it myself, but rather fell in love with it and chose to have a career in it. By contrast my brother, who grew up in the same environment, had no interest at all.

But there’s a conflict in my head about what to do with my kids. On the one hand, the journey I went through absolutely made me the person I am today. The rate at which you have to grow up when competing in international sport is far higher than in any other job. Elite sportspeople have to be able to cope with the pressure to succeed or fail on a very public stage and, crucially, spend years learning about themselves to understand how to produce their best when the time comes.

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