Pedro de la Rosa says he is hopeful that HRT will be able to run its 2012 F1 car for the first time during a filming day in Barcelona on Monday.
The Spanish team had hoped to debut the car on the final day of pre-season testing at Catalunya but was unable to get the new machine ready in time to join its rivals on track.
HRT will now hope to complete some limited running on Monday, with teams able to carry out restricted mileage on older Pirelli tyres for filming purposes.
Speaking to GPUpdate
, de la Rosa insisted that any laps the team could complete ahead of the Australian Grand Prix would be beneficial even given the restricted nature of the filming day.
“We knew already that it was going to be very difficult [to test on Sunday], but I think we still have a strong chance of running on Monday,” the former Sauber driver said. “It's still not confirmed but it looks likely and that is fantastic. If we manage to do a few laps just before Australia – just a few laps, not anymore – it will already be extremely good to sort any potential problems on a brand-new car. Also, from a driver's perspective, you can make sure your seat is in good shape for Australia. So I'm looking forward to Monday.”
The Spaniard added that the limited running was more important for HRT than any of its rivals given that nothing will be carried over from the team's 2011 car onto the F112.
“If you look at the grid, most of the teams have evolutions from last year,” he said. “This car is absolutely 100 percent new and that makes it even more critical for us to do a few laps on Monday. I am quite comfortable. I knew when I came here that it was going to be tough. My personal opinion is that we would not do any kilometres at all before the first race, so if we manage to get some in before Australia we are happy with that.
“After that, we just have to concentrate race by race. We have a new team and very good people. It is small in size, but we can improve race by race and our aim is really to grow. Let's be patient. Let's not get carried away by what happens in the first few races. We know the first six months will be, let's say somehow difficult, but after that things will come easier.”