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HRT's Sala left with 'bad taste' after Spanish GP

HRT team principal Luis Perez Sala had been hoping for 100 per cent reliability in the Spanish Grand Prix. He didn't get it....
HRT team principal Luis Perez Sala admitted that he was left dissatisfied with the squad's performance at the first of two home races, after problems in the pits led to Narain Karthikeyan's miserable weekend ending with a DNF.

Although the previously Valencia-based team may consider the Grand Prix of Europe its true 'home' race, the Spanish round in Barcelona remains a key stop on its schedule, and Sala was hoping to continue building on recent results by getting both cars to the chequered flag.

He may be considered fortunate to have two cars in the race at all, after Karthikeyan was left with a mountain to climb in qualifying after missing most of Friday afternoon's practice session, but a successful appeal against exclusion under the 107 per cent rule saw the Indian line up alongside Lewis Hamilton on Sunday afternoon. However, while Catalan veteran Pedro de la Rosa completed the race with four pit-stops, and managed to overcome adversity to cross the line in a seasons-best 19th place, Karthikeyan's afternoon was cut short as the result of a problem with a screw during his second stop.

"Once more we proved a good reliability which enabled Pedro to finish the Spanish Grand Prix in front of our home crowd," Sala reflected, "It's a very special grand prix and, for that reason, we would have liked to have finished the race with not one, but both cars. Unfortunately, this was not the case because of a problem with Narain's second tyre change.

"These things can happen when you take it to the limit, and to any team, and more so when you're in a learning process as we are. But, in this case, after an uphill weekend, it leaves me with an especially bad taste in my mouth to have not finished the job off. It was a really tough race, with the tyres degrading a huge amount and that's why we had to go for a four-stop strategy. But, despite the fact that we have a lot to improve, we're satisfied with Pedro's result, which is the best we've achieved this season thus far."

For Karthikeyan, the weekend could not end soon enough after his retirement.

"I had some trouble at the start with a little bit too much wheelspin, but it didn't affect me too much and, by the first turn, I was already back up behind Pedro," he reported, "It was the first time I'd driven on heavy fuel this weekend so, with the first set of tyres, my objective was to get used to them. On the second set, I had a really good stint and was catching Pedro as we came in for the pit-stop to switch to hard tyres. That's when my bad luck continued... I hope to leave it behind in Spain and have a fresh start in Monaco.”

For de la Rosa, meanwhile, taking the chequered flag was something of a novelty, not just with HRT but on home soil.

"Racing in front of your home crowd is fantastic and so is finishing the race," he smiled, "I'm very happy because it's only the second home grand prix of my career that I have finished, so I'm really satisfied about that.

"The race was harder than we anticipated. We did a four-stop strategy and we finished near the limit because the tyres were degrading a lot. The first 20 laps were complicated. The softs literally disintegrated, but the hards went much better and we were able to maintain a better rhythm which enabled us to finish in our best position so far this season in front of our fans.

"It's true that it's a discrete position, but we gave it our all and we did what we could. We were ahead of the Marussias on some laps and behind on others, but our rhythm, in general, wasn't bad. We know that we must continue to improve, but we're on the right line.”




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
10.05.2012- Pedro de la Rosa (ESP) HRT Formula 1 Team F112
11.05.2012- Free Practice 2, Pedro de la Rosa (ESP) HRT Formula 1 Team F112
20.04.2012-  Free Practice 2, Pedro de la Rosa (ESP) HRT Formula 1 Team F112
12.05.2012- Free Practice 3, Narain Karthikeyan (IND) HRT Formula 1 Team F112
12.05.2012- Free Practice 3, Narain Karthikeyan (IND) HRT Formula 1 Team F112
10.05.2012- Luiz Perez Sala, HRT
Rene Dreyfus and Tazio Nuvolari at the 1935 Grand Prix de Pau
Pic credit: Agence de presse Meurisse‏ [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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24.08.2014-Race, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM07 leads Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W05
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23.08.2014- Qualifying, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM07
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TheVern - Unregistered

May 15, 2012 2:59 PM

Ok, I've been supportive and now I'm frustrated with this lot. Spend less on the new factory, less on the new logo's and teamwear, spend a few quid on getting the car sorted. Pedro should be able to develop the beast to something reasonable but like the old saying says... "YOU CAN'T POLISH A TURD". Sorry HRT, less talk and more action now, you're starting to sound like Caterham!



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