HRT team boss Luis Perez-Sala says he is proud of the Spanish outfit for being ready for the opening round of the new F1 season in Australia after a troubled winter.

The team has undergone a series of changes over the winter, with Perez-Sala taking over control of the team from Colin Kolles and the team relocating to a new home in Spain.

Failure to pass the FIA's mandatory crash test meant the new F112 failed to complete any proper pre-season testing, with its only run coming in a filming day in Barcelona on Monday.

Despite the struggles, Perez-Sala said he was proud of his team for battling through the winter, even if he admitted that the hard work is only just starting.

"It doesn't seem true but the first race of the season is already upon us," he said. "We've spent three months working relentlessly, but the team and the car are ready for the great task ahead of us. We have done a lot of things since the last race of 2011 in Brazil and I'm very proud of the entire team but, without a doubt, the hardest part comes now.

"We know where we are but also where we wish to be and with the team spirit and sacrifice that we have shown, I'm convinced that we can achieve it."

Narain Karthikeyan, who completed the first laps with the new car at Catalunya, was also quick to praise the team for getting the car together in time, even if missing pre-season testing for the third straight season wasn't ideal.

"I'm feeling positive ahead of the Australian Grand Prix after having completed ten laps with the new F112 last Monday," he said. "Of course this was only a first contact and we didn't push it to the limit but the important thing was to get the ball rolling. It's not ideal to miss testing but we must look forward now.

"The new management have done an incredible job putting everything together and we'll do the best we can to continue progressing. We're in the right direction. Last year we only managed to complete five laps in the third practice session and failed to qualify for the race, so I'm looking to etch out that memory."

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