Narain Karthikeyan admits the HRT team have a lot of work to do if they are to qualify for the Australian Grand Prix after running their 2012 car in anger for the first time today. The F112 broke down in both practice sessions and Karthikeyan's quickest lap time was over 13 seconds slower than pacesetter Michael Schumacher.
The Indian driver has stressed that the problems encountered today are synonymous with a car turning a wheel for the first time but the team faces an uphill task to get inside the 107% time.
“Today we ran with a new car in mixed conditions, so tomorrow will be like starting all over again because it looks like conditions will be dry. With few laps and a new car, we were unable to assess the balance of the car. But it was important to do some mileage and we completed 19 laps which isn't too bad, but we still have a long way to go. As for the new car, these problems are common, they tend to happen in pre-season testing and this is our testing”.
Teammate Pedro de la Rosa only managed a single installation lap in the two sessions combined with his car only passing scrutineering on Friday morning and has asked for patience as the team understands its new car.
“We managed to complete our installation lap in order to check the systems, but afterwards we detected a problem with the hydraulic system which forced us to stop. This is all part of the learning process, we've arrived here with a new car and just to have been able to get out for the second session was a feat, but we would have liked to have done more and learnt more. The last parts of the car arrived late and thanks to the brutal effort put in by the whole team, we were at least able to complete the installation lap and, thanks to this, we know where the problem is for tomorrow and can fix it. We start tomorrow with one problem less, and will surely run into another one, but that is part of the learning process. We knew that this Grand Prix would be difficult so we need to be patient”.
Team Manager Luis PÃ©rez-Sala praised the mechanics for getting both cars ready to run and hopes to make further progress in third practice tomorrow morning.
“It's been a complicated day but we knew what we were in for. The fact that we haven't done pre-season testing means that we must get things right, not get ahead of ourselves and detect problems in order to fix them. What the majority of teams have done during winter, we have to do here. Narain was able to complete 19 laps and accumulate certain information. Pedro could only get through one lap, but it was an important one because the team has worked non-stop to make sure the car was finished on time for today, and they achieved it. Tomorrow we will continue to progress.”