Dr. Colin Kolles has admitted that the 'lack of F1 experience' of Hispania Racing (HRT) rookies Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok has hampered the Spanish outfit's progress somewhat over the opening four outings of its maiden campaign in the top flight this year – but the German is confident of an improved level of competitiveness in the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend.
Having not so much as turned a wheel prior to the start of the season due to the late takeover of the former Campos Meta 1 entry by chief shareholder José Ramón Carabante, Hispania was always going to be on the back foot and playing a game of catch-up in the initial phases.
That effort has not been greatly accelerated by the fact that neither Senna nor Chandhok – promising as they both undoubtedly are – had started a single race at the highest level before the Bahrain curtain-raiser, but HRT has surprised and impressed observers by getting at least one of its two cars to the finish line in three of the four grands prix to-date, with both indeed taking the chequered flag in Malaysia and China.
With upgrades expected to see the light of day on 'home' turf in Barcelona, team principal Kolles is hopeful that Hispania can further close the gap separating the squad from fellow newcomers Lotus and Virgin in terms of lap time, despite having been unable to benefit from any pre-season testing around the Circuit de Catalunya.
“I am pleased with what Senna and Chandhok have done,” underlined the erstwhile Jordan, Midland, Spyker and Force India
man, “but it's useless to deny that their lack of F1 experience is a disadvantage at this point.
“We reached our next goal with our two cars making it to the finish again in China in our fourth-ever race. We have used the time since China to work on the car and to introduce new parts. We hope to understand the car better and need to improve the performance, as well as hitting a new target and finishing again with both cars.”
Those sentiments are corroborated by Senna and Candhok, both of whom have far more experience of competing in Barcelona, with the former in particular having enjoyed a considerable degree of success there over the years.
“I'm looking forward to the Spanish Grand Prix,” enthused Senna. “Barcelona is one of my favorite tracks, and I have a good record on it and good memories. I completed my first F1 test there with Honda, and prior to that, every time I raced in Montmeló I won or was on the podium.
“I am certain that I will enjoy Barcelona again, although it is a very physical track with high-speed corners where it is hard to find the perfect lap. The newly-introduced last chicane is also very technical – but let's build on our past results.”
“I am looking forward to racing again after the extended break,” echoed the Brazilian's Indian team-mate. “I really enjoy driving here, as the circuit is a real challenge with a complete mix of high-speed and slower technical sections.
“Unlike the other teams, we did not have a chance to test the car in the pre-season, but we have a couple of updates for this weekend that should give us a clearer picture for the season ahead. The team is highly-motivated for our home race, and together we are looking forward to developing the car for the rest of the season. ”