Narain Karthikeyan will partner Pedro de la Rosa in HRT’s line-up for the 2012 season. Karthikeyan competed at the first eight 2011 Grands Prix for the Spanish team, before stepping aside for Red Bull protege Daniel Ricciardo, but made a one-off race return at his home Grand Prix in India in October.
It has taken a lot of hard work to make this happen but I am absolutely elated to feature on the 2012 grid with HRT F1 Team, said the Chennai-born driver. I was pleased with our strong performance at the Indian Grand Prix, in front of my passionate home fans and I look forward to building on this result in 2012. I have been training hard since the end of 2011, ensuring I was ready for the rigours of F1 if an opportunity arose.
I am delighted to have signed with HRT F1 Team. With the new management, Pedro, and the team, there is definite potential for progress. We need to understand that F1 is new to India, we hosted our first race only last year which was a resounding success. To build on that momentum, an Indian driver will certainly keep the interest engaged throughout the season. I am proud to secure an opportunity to forge a stronger connection between India and Formula One once again.”
Karthikeyan competed in the sport in 2005 for Jordan and tested for the Williams team from 2006 to 2007. He remains the only Indian driver to have scored world championship points after finishing fourth at the 2005 United States Grand Prix. He has also competed in Formula Three, Formula Nippon, Formula Vauxhall, the Nissan World Series, A1GP, Le Mans and the Superleague Formula.
I am pleased to count with Narain for this season, as he will contribute continuity and stability, explained HRT team principal Luis Perez-Sala. He is a quick, intuitive and secure driver who met his expectations despite a lack of continuity last year. Of the eight Grands Prix he contested in 2011, he only failed to finish on one occasion and had a great performance in the last race he took part in.
Im sure that the fact that he will continue to work and drive on a regular basis will help him take a step forward this season. And if he advances, so does the team. This is a year in which you could say that the team starts from scratch and everyones input will be fundamental.
HRT will return to action next week at the opening pre-season test at the Spanish circuit of Jerez, where De la Rosa will be in a charge of driving duties. Karthikeyan will be back behind the wheel at the second session, which will take place at Barcelonas Circuit de Catalunya from February 21-24.