Dani Clos to get track time as HRT test driver

2012 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

Dani Clos, HRT, Abu Dhabi, 2011

Spanish GP2 driver Dani Clos will be HRT’s official test driver for the 2012 season, the team has announced.

The 23-year-old will participate in “several” Friday practice sessions, according to the team.

Clos, who drove for HRT in the young drivers’ test in November, said: “I’m very proud to be a part of HRT Formula 1 Team. It is a great step in my career, something that I have dreamt of all my life and, finally, my dream is starting to come true.

“I’m very impressed with the job the team is doing; they’re achieving fantastic things in a short space of time. The team has changed a lot since we met in the Abu Dhabi tests and I think it’s a great opportunity and an honor to form a part of this new team.

“What they’re achieving is very important for motorsport in our country and has a lot of potential. Also, being alongside Pedro de la Rosa is very important for me, since he and [Narain] Karthikeyan can positively contribute to me becoming a better driver.

“I want to thank Saul Ruiz de Marcos and Luis Perez-Sala for the trust they’ve shown in me from the start and, above all, I would like to thank the people who have always been by my side, such as Leonardo Soldevila and my father.

“For me a new chapter is beginning, one where hard work and dedication are going to be my priorities; I’m going to give it my all so that this phase is as successful as it can possibly be for the team, my team mates and myself”.

2012 F1 season

Browse all 2012 F1 season articles

Image © Motioncompany

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

34 comments on “Dani Clos to get track time as HRT test driver”

  1. It really feels as though HRT are taking a far more coherent approach than they have up to this point.

    1. MagillaGorilla
      13th February 2012, 9:53

      I’m glad others are starting to see that.

      1. agree as well. Even if the easiest thing it’s to go with the flow and make fun of them. They are getting better all the time in a very hard situation.

    2. It all certainly ‘sounds’ pretty decent so far. However, we have yet to see anything apart from their appeareance at the first test (even though only with the old car).

      1. They’ve done more than Marussia so far this season. Don’t forget, even if they don’t have their 2012 car ready, they probably could modify their 2011 machine to race.

        1. It’s not really a huge achievement to do more than Marussia.

          1. @dennis But they show willing, which doesn’t get you points, but at least earns you more respect.

          2. @AndrewTanner
            That is true. As I said, it all sounds pretty decent. Let’s just hope it turns out a few nice results as well.

    3. I’ve got a real soft spot for HRT. It has been years since we have had a team that seems to be desperate to hang on to it’s place on the grid, to hang on to it’s right to compete. In the current F1 world where major motor manufacturers come and go on the whim of their boards, it is truly refreshing.

      To get to your post, they do seem to finally be going about things the right way. They’ve finally managed to get everyone under one roof and they’ve managed to bag a solid driver in PDLR. His experience in top level F1 car development will no doubt help push the team forward. I know their new car didn’t fail the crash tests by much, but I really wish they had. I liked the string of positive stories that were coming out of the team and it seemed like everyone was starting to get off their backs at last.

      1. It has been years since we have had a team that seems to be desperate to hang on to it’s place on the grid, to hang on to it’s right to compete.

        I really agree with the sentiment, let’s see what happens.

  2. Clos bringing the funding for Pedro’s drive then! Curious to see if he will actually have a car to drive or be stuck with track time meaning doing the Thursday track walk :-)

    1. the money is for luizzi.

      1. Ah, yes, to pay off his contract!

  3. Whenever I read of young drivers taking over cockpits of others on friday practice sessions, I simply wish they would bring back the third car on friday.
    Or allow mid-season testing, but only by drivers who never attended an F1 race before.

    1. Third cars on friday for drivers who have less than x miles would be great.

      1. @Mike
        Yes, something along the lines. That’s how Vettel started out in 2006. It would be great for young drivers to get some track time, compare their laps to actual drivers, gain some confidence and most crucially, they won’t scrap the car of a driver who himself could need some time behind the wheel to prepare for the race.

        1. The problem with that, is if you don’t let teams use the third car should one of there main cars break before the race, isn’t it just a waste of resources?

          1. I don’t think so, the teams still get a benefit from being able to gather data from 3 cars during free practice.

  4. If teams were allowed a third car, it would be considered a test vehicle. Although I am all for it, as the young guns need the chance to experience F1 tracks and cars, the teams would exploit the opportunity, who wouldn’t? In hindsight, I would not be very comfortable if I was a driver expected to be competitive on the weekend and someone else drove my car on Friday, regardless of whether or not they smashed it.

  5. HRT is on the right track mow.
    PDLR and NK may not be the fastest out there but they are certainly no
    slow pokes either.
    Bringing in Clos will make PDLR and NK be cautious over their seats and deliver good laptimes.

    Way2Go HRT!!!!

  6. The engine rules have all but eliminated friday drivers. If you run a driver on friday to develop his skills, 5 or 15 laps is just not worth it. He likely also wont contribute much to race preparation despite using up the life of the engines.

    1. Begs the question, why do they do it then?

      After all, Force India have promoted their last two Friday drivers to their race team.

    2. I don’t think its really that worthless to teams. First of all, there’s a lot of work where its no that important which driver is in the car, especially at the start of on track action on the fridays. And at times it might even help a team to get the opinion of a third driver to something.

      Not to mention the fact that its a good way to keep the regular drivers on their toes and get evaluate a new driver as well as getting him experience ahead of possibly running them later as a race driver, as Keith writes.

      1. Well said, @BasCB

        It’s a formula which has worked pretty well for the past 2 or 3 years, especially in Force India like Keith said.

  7. As I have said before, I really hope that this season HRT can compete. While they have finished above Marussia up until now, I have never been convinced. All I wish for them this year is that for 1) They stick with the same 2 drivers throughout. 2) Beat Marussia on merit and 3) Not being so very very off the pace from the race leaders pace. What I see so far is promising in regards that the preparation does not appear to be in shambles.

    1. @mahavirshah I hope so for the first two points. They’re putting themselves on a pedestal with getting only one pay driver in Karthikeyan. Point 3 I think will be a little more difficult for them. Caterham now have KERS and Marussia have ditched their pure-CFD approach so they will have a tough (but no doubt competitive) season.

      1. I think so as well. Its just that as a new team over the past two years a lot of people have said that they do not belong in F1 and that they are a joke. I do not support the team but I feel that, given the circumstances that they have had to fight through, the fact that they are still here and seem committed to F1 for 2012 at least, makes me want to wish them the good luck. A team is going to finish on pole and a team is going to finish 24. The team does not deserve so much flak and that is why I wished for those 3 specific points.

  8. I think its great for a young driver like this to get practice time on a Friday, you can almost guarentee that if he is close to PDLR or NK then he will get a race seat next year.

    However i hope Marussia do beat these guys this year as they have been hard done by in the last two seasons where Marussia have out performed all year but get beaten on best final placing

  9. Good news for Dani and good news for the team to have other Spanish blood in their outfit.

  10. It’s certainly a good thing. HRT now have two experienced drivers and a young third driver to evaluate. Certainly Pedro and Narain aren’t the best two drivers around, and Clos didn’t exactly shine in GP2, but the direction HRT is going in is the correct one to improve.

  11. With another Spaniard, Dani Clos, joining the predominantly Spanish team, I wonder if the 2012 season is going to be a very lonely experience for Narain Karthikeyan. I’m imagining all these techies and managers milling around him, talking Spanish, and only switching to English when addressing him. I lived in Spain for 11 years and I really think it might be like this.

    1. Saying that, I think the fact that HRT is a Spanish team will give the team members that little bit of extra motivation to show the world that Fernando Alonso is not the only exciting thing in F1.

    2. I wonder whether Narain will ever spend his entire season with HRT or make way for Dani Clos sometime later. The excitement that Clos is expressing over getting a mere reserve driver role at a back of the grid team seems to suggest that.

      I hope Narain gets a full season though. It depends on how he performs.

      1. I’d say it’s a safe bet he’ll be driving in India.

Comments are closed.