Another season at the back looms for HRT

2012 F1 season preview

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Narain Karthikeyan, HRT F112, Barcelona, 2012
HRT’s new car has run before the first race weekend of the new season, which is already an improvement on their previous two campaigns.

But the 11th place in the championship they’ve occupied since entering the sport is likely to be the limit of their ambitions in 2012.

Car 22: Narain Karthikeyan

Narain Karthikeyan will become the first person to drive for HRT in more than one season when he takes to the track in Melbourne.

It’s an unusual state of affairs given that he started the season with the team last year but was dropped halfway through. He did, of course, make a sponsor-friendly one-off return for his home race in India.

The Tata Motors logos on the side of the F112 explain Karthikeyan’s continues presence at the team. But it would be unfair to write him off as a complete no-hoper. Up against de la Rosa, who wears the ‘competent journeyman’ label, Karthikeyan has the potential to exceed expectations this year.

Car 23: Pedro de la Rosa

It’s 13 years since Pedro de la Rosa made his F1 debut at Melbourne with Arrows. He’s been in and out of the sport this year and his move to HRT could be considered his third comeback.

He brings a wealth of experience, including several years at McLaren, which will be a boon to this tiny team trying to compete on a shoestring budget.

HRT F112

The F112 appears to be very heavily based on HRT’s previous cars, which have their roots in the chassis Dallara designed for them in 2009. Its front wing in particular looks extremely basic by modern F1 standards.

Their partnership with Williams continues for a second season and that should help provide some of the reliability they need in order to be able to capitalise on any problems suffered by the front runners.

There are even plans to run a Kinetic Energy Recovery System this year which could give them a useful advantage in their battle at the back with Marussia.

But even so their best chance of improving on their highest race finish of 13th place is most likely to be some kind of first-lap shunt involving half the field.

HRT in 2012: Your view

What do you expect from HRT in 2012? Have your say in the comments.

2012 F1 season preview

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Image © HRT F1 Team

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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...

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18 comments on “Another season at the back looms for HRT”

  1. But even so their best chance of improving on their highest race finish of 13th place is most likely to be some kind of first-lap shunt involving half the field.

    – so these two drivers might toss a coin between them who emulates Tonio’s bowling move in Monza to achieve that @keithcollantine!

    1. That’d work just fine! then the FIA would penalize one of them with 5 places in the grid for the next race which makes no difference whatsoever, and it’d start all over again.

    2. In a way, they could repeat that anywhere and basically get away with it! 5 place penalty isn’t a penalty at all! :P

  2. HRT should be at the back of the grid if they decide to use the Bridgestone tyres they are using in that picture!!

    1. It is laughable that they can’t even afford the correct demo tyres!

    2. Pretty sure that’s some sort of hybrid car, the front wing looks like the wiong they ran at Melbourne in 2011 and it also has outboard mirrors (the one mounted on the left of the car also seems to be facing the wrong way!)

    3. That is odd. I’ve swapped the image for a less confusing one!

      1. I do wonder what they are up to some times! My soft spot for HRT is well known, but sometimes even I can’t justify the randomness of some of the things they get up to!

    4. Those are Pirelli’s from last year, you can’t use the current tyres during a filming day.

  3. A first lap shunt that takes out half the field might be just the thing to start off the season this year. Mind you it’d mess up everyone’s predictions for sure :) ! With the swords noses they have this year a shunt from the rear might ruin someones gearbox most likely.

  4. The only thing that they have going good is the fact that it looks good, paint wise. I honestly cannot see them even getting with the 107% rule in Melbourne them and maybe Marussia. I hope the FIA make a rule stating you have to attend at least one day of testing before the first race, it’s pathetic how teams are allowed to go into a raceweekend without a proper test. The HRT I think ran on it’s own on a publicity run but still, that’s limited to 100KM and on the wrong tyres. Another P1 shake down then.

    1. I’d say HRT managed to do a lot more running than they did in the past before the first race of the year, why critisize now. Not to mention, that Marussia is in exactly the same position, maybe even worse, because the car they used to do that 100km was not even past all crash tests at the time!

      I still think that the 107% rule is arbitrary and unnecessary, after all how many people would go around the world currently putting cars on track (after first spending quite a lot of money getting one of 13 licenses to be there and actually building that car) and without the purpose of actually getting to compete?

      It’s not as if there’s a dozen of competent, well financed and willing companies just waiting to jump in, is it.

    2. SO what if they didn’t test before the race? there are 3 practice sessions before qualifying. If the car is legal, and it passed all crash tests, then great. Qualy will say if they are good to race or not, if they get within 107% of the best time in Q1.

      Besides, a rule like the one you suggest contradicts the FIA. This year we had just 12 days of pre-season testing, lower than any other year and the crash test requirement before testing was just implemented this year too. So for small teams, it was obviously going to be extremely hard…

  5. @keithcollantine – Can I just say that, while Karthikeyan was supposedly intitally given car 22, it appears de la Rosa will now drive 22, with Karthikeyan in 23, or at least that’s what it says on their website now:

    1. @bradley13 I’ve used what it says in HRT’s press kit but there’s several conflicting reports so it could be either.

      I now see the Australia GP press kit has de la Rosa as 22.

      I do remember HRT saying earlier that Karthikeyan was definitely going to be 22, as he was last year, but it seems that’s not the case. If they can’t get this fairly simple aspect of running an F1 team right, no wonder they’re struggling…

      1. @keithcollantine – Completely agree. The phrase, ‘couldn’t organise a p*** up in a brewery’ comes to mind…

  6. They’re probably not going to amount to much again this year but nevertheless, it feels like a win for them when they can just turn up in Melbourne.

    Will be interesting to see if Marussia will increase their performance gap now they’ve ditched the pure CFD route.

  7. Wow, HRT had a first, maybe even set a record. After first delaying scrutinizing of PDLR’s car to tomorrow 11am, now they were the first team to break the curfew!

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