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Karthikeyan: Qualifying not an issue

Narain Karthikeyan says HRT should be able to qualifying for the remaining races on the F1 schedule

Narain Karthikeyan says qualifying should no longer be an issue for the HRT team, with the focus for the Spanish backmarkers being to close the gap to the cars ahead.

Karthikeyan and team-mate Pedro de la Rosa were forced to miss the season opener in Australia after failing to qualify, although the pair then managed to make it into the race in Malaysia and secured a double finish.

Speaking ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix this weekend in Shanghai, Karthikeyan insisted that qualifying shouldn't be an issue for the team again this season but said it was clear that improvements need to be made.

“I think qualifying within the 107 per cent is no longer a problem, but we need to improve for sure,” he said. “We need to reduce the gap. If you take our lap times from last year, we have not improved so much. From the numbers we had, we were hoping that the car would take a significant step forward but that is not the case right now. We know the reasons, there is a wind tunnel programme and we're trying to improve it.

“The start of the year wasn't very good because we missed all the testing and then we came to Australia with a new car and like all new cars, it had a lot of problems with cooling and hydraulics and few laps. Clearly our car is still lacking a lot of downforce, which is the biggest problem.

“Pedro de la Rosa is quite good to help the team to go in the right direction, he has a lot of experience with big teams, so we're trying to improve. It's still a very small team and we have limited resources but I can see that the structure is a lot stronger than last year. There are some good people in the team and so we will improve quite a lot at the Mugello test hopefully.”

Karthikeyan added that the current situation the team finds itself in made it difficult for the drivers behind the wheel, with the lack of pace meaning they are spending much of race day watching their mirrors and being unable to push forwards.

“After the first 15 laps or so, it's very difficult because a lot of blue flags,” he said. “I think at the last race there were something like 36 blue flags so it's quite difficult. The car is obviously five or six seconds off the pace and in tricky conditions like when we switched to dry tyres, with less downforce and it's so hard to drive and the car is a handful to drive in completely dry conditions, so in mixed conditions it's really difficult. But it is what it is, this is what I have and I will try to do the best with what I have.”



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
24.03.2012- Saturday Practice, Narain Karthikeyan (IND) HRT Formula 1 Team F112
24.03.2012- Saturday Practice, Narain Karthikeyan (IND) HRT Formula 1 Team F112
12.04.2012 Narain Karthikeyan (IND) HRT Formula 1 Team F112
Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok reunited for RoC
Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok reunited for RoC
25.11.2012- Race, Pedro de la Rosa (ESP) HRT Formula 1 Team F112 and Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Caterham F1 Team CT01
25.11.2012- Race, Narain Karthikeyan (IND) HRT Formula 1 Team F112 and Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W03
25.11.2012- Race, Pedro de la Rosa (ESP) HRT Formula 1 Team F112 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB8
25.11.2012- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB8 and Narain Karthikeyan (IND) HRT Formula 1 Team F112
25.11.2012- Race, Pedro de la Rosa (ESP) HRT Formula 1 Team F112 leads Charles Pic (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR01
25.11.2012- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB8 and Narain Karthikeyan (IND) HRT Formula 1 Team F112
25.11.2012- Pedro de la Rosa (ESP) HRT Formula 1 Team F112 and Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber F1 Team C31
25.11.2012- Charlie Whiting (GBR), Race director and safety delegate and Narain Karthikeyan (IND) HRT Formula 1 Team F112
24.11.2012- Qualifying, Narain Karthikeyan (IND) HRT Formula 1 Team F112 and Timo Glock (GER) Marussia F1 Team MR01
24.11.2012- Qualifying, Pedro de la Rosa (ESP) HRT Formula 1 Team F112
24.11.2012- Qualifying, Narain Karthikeyan (IND) HRT Formula 1 Team F112
24.11.2012- Free Practice 3, Pedro de la Rosa (ESP) HRT Formula 1 Team F112
24.11.2012- Free Practice 3, Narain Karthikeyan (IND) HRT Formula 1 Team F112

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