The F1 2011 Malaysian GP proved there is 'light at the end of the tunnel' for Hispania, that's the view of team principal, Colin Kolles, even though neither of his drivers managed to make it to the chequered flag.
Both Vitantoino Liuizzi and Narain Karthikeyan easily made it under the 107 per cent time in qualifying to make the race - a stark contrast to Australia - and while the latter was forced out on lap 14, the former got to within 10 laps of the finish, much to the delight of the Spanish outfit.
“We stopped both cars just to be safe. Narain's car had very high water temperatures so we advised him to stop. Tonio was close to the finish the race and felt an unstable rear. We pitted the car twice to check the problem and found out that there was damage on the rear wing so we decided to stop just for safety reasons,” Kolles explained.
“Overall though it wasn't a bad day considering this was our first proper race and our first chance to test the car in a race situation. There were no major issues so we need to try and improve for the next race in China where we hope to finish. Our lap times were not bad compared to the front runners [either], this shows there is some light at the end of the tunnel.”
Liuzzi and Karthikeyan meanwhile were also reasonably encouraged, although neither was overly happy with the balance of the F111.
“It's a shame we didn't finish by 8 laps because our target was to reach the chequered flag. We had a small issue with the rear wing and were forced to stop,” Liuzzi continued. “It's a shame because we had a really good start where I was able to pass a few cars. It was an interesting first lap but then our pace wasn't too competitive and those cars were able to overtake me. After that, it was a really complicated race because the car was struggling with the rear end, it was drifting a lot during the three stints we did. We have to work a lot on the balance and the set up for the future.
“We knew we weren't exactly where we wanted to be but today it was important to achieve mileage and get some information on the car. So now we have some data to work with for the future.”
“I would have definitely liked to have finished the race and done more miles but this was not the case,” Karthikeyan added. “There were some problems with the water temperatures so we had to abandon in order to not damage the engine.
“The car balance was not the best but we have some information from Tonio because he almost completed the race.
“It's a shame because I was just settling in when I was forced to abandon but anyways, now I'm focused on China where I will be looking to finish the race next Sunday.”