Formula 1

Hispania have ‘interesting’ day at Barcelona test

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Narain Karthikeyan was back on track in Barcelona for Hispania this morning before the team gave Italian Giorgio Mondini the chance to test a modern-day F1 car.

Karthikeyan had to put up with a damp track this morning and, as a result, finished the day bottom of the timesheets. He also had to contend with gearbox issues. However, the Indian driver thinks the car is improving, and thanked Tonio Liuzzi – who was on testing duties yesterday – for useful feedback.

“The weather was unfortunate today, the track was pretty damp in the morning,” Karthikeyan explained. “We also had some trouble with our gearbox so we lost a bit of time before getting out. Towards the end of the morning, the track was pretty greasy so there wasn't much grip. But the car has improved a lot, there is much more front grip. Tonio's feedback has definitely helped the front end of the car and we were able to clock a pretty decent time in the end.”

Mondini had better luck with the weather today, and finished twelfth in the today’s standings. However, it sounded as though he was just pleased to get another chance to drive an F1 car:

“I'm very happy to have driven today,” he said. “It was a test to see if I was still able to drive at this level. It's been two years since I raced competitively and physically I could really feel it. Now we must work on this”

Team principal Colin Kolles praised both drivers for their efforts. “Today was an interesting test day for us,” he said. “The rain enabled us to test in very tricky conditions, therefore I am very happy with Narain's performance in the morning.

“In the afternoon, I was very pleased to see Giorgio driving. His last time in an F1 car was in 2006 and it was nice to give him the opportunity to drive at this level again. I'm pleased to see he was setting a good pace.”

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