Narain Karthikeyan, who was roped in as the second driver of Hispania Racing Team for 2012 season, is confident that the Spanish team has a bright future under the new management that took over last year.
The long-term plan that the Thesan Capital-owned outfit, now headed by team principal Luis Perez Sala, has put together played a part in Narain’s decision to join a team that has struggled for results since coming into F1 at the start of 2010.
Everyone knows it is impossible to change things in F1 overnight but Narain has certainly taken strides in the right direction. “The new management has a strong structure and financial backing for the project.
There are a lot of positives. A good example is Pedro de la Rosa, my team-mate. He could have had an easy life and stayed as a McLaren test driver, but he has come here because he knows that the team has a big future,” added Narain.
Narain is also confident that HRT will be able to get their 2012 car out on track in time for the second pre-season test of the year at Barcelona.
Last year, the Hispania F111 did not make its debut until practice for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, meaning neither of their drivers qualified for the race.
It has finally been revealed that you will occupy the last seat available as an official driver, how are you facing this new challenge in Formula 1: It all really started after the Indian GP, where I had a good result which led to the belief that I am still competitive to drive in Formula 1.
It is no secret how difficult it is to stay in F1 at this time, but I ensured that I was physically and mentally ready for any opportunity that arose. So I can’t wait to get back in the car and return to action once again.
This will be your third season in Formula 1, what will be your target? As far as results go, it largely depends on the development of the car, although I must say that things are looking promising.
Otherwise, I have no doubts in my ability, I am extremely confident as last year and after the first few races, I drove better than ever. So I’ll be pushing hard no doubt about that.
On your experienced teammate: My first ever test was with Jaguar in 2001 and I remember Pedro was the team driver at the time. Even though I don’t know him very well, I know that he’s very experienced and from what I’ve seen, has a pleasant personality.
We should be getting on well – it is not about trying to beat each other but working harmoniously to help the team progress as a whole. Healthy competition will collectively allow us to get the maximum out of the car and fast-forward the development process.
He has a vast amount of developmental experience with a front-running team – so it’ll count a lot for the team in terms of approaching things and making the most out of our resources.
On your contribution to the team: I am going to push as hard as possible, both inside and outside the cockpit and do whatever it takes to help the team progress in its rejuvenated form.
Continuity is important in Formula 1 so I’m sure we’ll hit the ground running this year starting with some actual pre-season testing unlike last season where I first drove the new car on the opening race weekend in Australia.
So there is all the incentive for me to ensure that I carry the team forward by delivering results and ensuring that nothing is left on the table as far as performance is concerned.
Last year you made history by becoming the first Indian driver ever to race at the Indian GP. What dreams do you have left to fulfill: For me, Formula 1 is a continued dream, it is always ultra-competitive and competing at the pinnacle of the sport is what I love.
So I am very happy to have the opportunity to continue living my dream and I have every intention to make the best out of it.