Karthikeyan debuts HRT F112
Mumbai: Indian driver Narain Karthikeyan completed the first laps aboard the new HRT F112 at the Barcelona circuit ahead of its Formula 1 debut in Australia in less than two weeks.
Having passed all the mandatory crash tests last weekend, the Spanish squad was racing against time to put the car on track by taking advantage of `filming day` regulations to shake down the new car.
Filming day regulations limit the running to 100 kilometres and only demo-spec Pirelli tyres are allowed, which bear very different characteristics compared to the normal racing rubber.
Despite these limitations, the team was able to ensure that the Cosworth-powered car functioned well from mechanical and aerodynamic standpoints.
Once out on the track, Karthikeyan`s immediate objective was to ensure that all the systems were functioning appropriately and there were no major niggles.
"The first impressions are quite good; it is definitely a step up from last year," said Karthikeyan immediately after emerging out of the cockpit.
"We couldn`t do any set-up work or stuff like that but everything seems to be working fine and there are no major problems, so we can look forward to the season now," he added.
Despite the fact that over 90 per cent of the HRT F1 staff has been freshly recruited, it was clear that the team is already at a level several notches higher compared to the last two years.
"Everyone has worked hard and the new team management has put everything together in a very short period of time," said Karthikeyan.