Despite being firmly rooted to the back of the F1 field, HRT is hoping to further refine its latest updates when the series arrives at Suzuka for this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix.
If anything, the Spanish minnow found itself even more isolated at the rear of the grid after Marussia, consistently the meat in the backmarker sandwich between Caterham and HRT, took a step forward in Singapore and moved into tenth place in the constructors' standings as a result of Timo Glock's twelfth place finish. Team principal Luis Perez Sala, however, is optimistic that his squad can continue to make progress with its own aerodynamic developments, which made their first appearance under the lights of Marina Bay
a fortnight ago.
"Suzuka is a circuit with a lot of tradition, [and] quite a technical track that's very challenging, both mechanically and for the driver," he noted, "It's also a very attractive circuit because it combines quick corners with quick straights. We'll be able to further test and evaluate the updates we took to Singapore because we will have more data, [and] we're confident that we'll be able to continue with our momentum and it's another race to continue progressing.”
For drivers Pedro de la Rosa
and Narain Karthikeyan, the second even of seven late season 'flyaways' is a chance to sample one of the great racetracks of the world, and both are relishing the chance to tackles its swoops and curves.
"Suzuka is a beautiful and spectacular circuit, and I would say it's my favourite track," de la Rosa enthused, "It's very quick, you hardly touch the brake, and we'll be able to make a better evaluation of the difference between the new floor and the old one. It has inclinations, quick, flowing corners and a very long lap, so it's a circuit for aerodynamics and horsepower where the best cars stand out.
"I've got great memories of it because my first victories in F3 and F3000 came there and it's one of the tracks which has brought me most luck in my career because, by winning there, the doors to F1 opened. Now I hope to also have a good performance next weekend.”
Karthikeyan, meanwhile, is not only looking forward to trying the latest HRT developments on a 'proper' circuit, but also to a change of fortune.
"I'm really looking forward to Japan after not being able to finish in Singapore, and I think we'll take a step forward with the car with regards to Singapore and be able to better evaluate how the new floor works," he commented, "We've been pretty fast in the last few races, but we've been missing a bit of luck, and we have to continue working to maintain the positive momentum through to the end of the season.”