HRT have only seen half of F112’s potential, says Perez-Sala

2012 F1 season

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HRT team principal Luis Perez-Sala says the F112 has far greater potential than the team has realised so far this year.

“It has a good base and that’s its biggest strength,” said Perez-Sala in a Q&A published by the team. “It’s a reliable car with good mechanical resistance and it offers a lot of possibilities for its development.

“I’d say we’re at 50% of its potential and we can still extract another 50%, mainly in aerodynamics.”

“We have some upgrades prepared for the Singapore Grand Prix. As a small team we can’t afford small upgrades every two or three races because the cost of an upgrade or creating a new piece for a small upgrade is very high.

“Besides the aerodynamic study, you have to produce the parts and that also implies a lot of time. So we have to make the most of any changes and have a very clear idea of the direction we want to take for those upgrades to be productive.”

Perez-Sala added he is hoping to see better performances from the car in the second half of the season: “For me it would be a success to maintain the reliability we have and improve our performance a little bit more.

“To achieve this I hope that the aero package that we will introduce after the summer will help us to take the next step. The objective is to stay between the 104 and 105% and have the project for 2013 prepared.”

The closest HRT have been to the front-runners’ pace this year was in their home race at Valencia, where they were 4.17% slower than the fastest lap.

De la Rosa “extraordinary”

Perez-Sala said his view of the team at present “couldn’t be more positive” following a “complicated” start to the season: “As we’ve already said on multiple occasions, we’ve almost changed the entire team, we’ve moved to a new headquarters where we’ve been based since early April, and all of this whilst we built a new car.

“Once we settled in, from April and May onwards, we started to get a race rhythm going. It’s safe to say we’ve encountered some very intense months where the team has given its all, because we’ve been able to carry out everything we set out to do.”

Asked about the ongoing discussions about future engine supplies in F1 he said: “We’re waiting to have all the possible information, especially with everything related to the costs that this change implies.

“We still don’t know all the details, but for us it is of vital importance to know them to see where we stand and what decision we make because this takes up between 15 and 20% of the team’s budget.

“This is a change that needs important planning that must be done well. As for the Concorde Agreement, I don’t think there will be any problems because, although we’re a small team, we feel that we’re taken into consideration and supported.”

Perez-Sala gave high praise to Pedro de la Rosa, who joined the team this year: “I’d highlight everything about Pedro. He’s an extraordinary person and an excellent driver.

“Apart from his experience he’s got a lot of common sense and he acts as the leader of the team. There’s no doubt that he’s the cornerstone of this project.

“From Narain [Karthikeyan] I’d emphasize his experience, safety and speed, besides the stability he contributes to the team.

“Dani [Clos] is a young driver, with strength and ambition and he’s adapted phenomenally well to the team in a position which isn’t easy, which is that of the reserve driver.

“Ma [Qing Hua] is a driver who will surprise us all because he has great potential. We saw it when he tested the F112 in Silverstone, where he showed his quality. He’s a hard worker and he has also adapted perfectly. I’m very proud and satisfied with the structure of drivers that we have and each one plays their role perfectly.”

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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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40 comments on “HRT have only seen half of F112’s potential, says Perez-Sala”

  1. ShaneB457 (@shaneb12345678910)
    9th August 2012, 12:05

    HRT have only seen half of F112′s potential, says Perez-Sala

    What? You mean the car is going to get worse? :)

    No I’m sure that HRT will get stronger over the next few years. I think they have done well for a team with little amounts of money. They deserve some credit I think.

    1. @shaneb12345678910

      You mean the car is going to get worse?

      I don’t see how you would draw that inference.

      1. @keithcollantine

        I think that he’s implying that we’ve only seen half of HRT’s potentiel to be a backmarker team.

      2. davidnotcoulthard
        10th August 2012, 13:54

        From his 2nd paragraph that part f his comment doesn’t look like it’s trying to be serious. And I certainly agree with his (and 2nd to) last sentence.

  2. Instead of coming last at all races, HRT are aiming to come last twice at every race!

    lol, all jokes aside. I like HRT and the other new teams, im impressed that HRT have been able to keep competing especially in these financial times, and now they are actually bringing new parts to the car is also good for them.

  3. Dimitris 1395 (@)
    9th August 2012, 13:05

    I like HRT. They are passionate for the sport and they don’t rely on pay drivers. Karthikeyan is not the best driver they could get but De la Rosa is a experienced and consistent driver despite his age. So they can improve, the only question is how much will they

    1. I was under the impression the Indian was a pay driver, given he brings Tata’s sponsorship.

    2. Depends a bit on how you define a pay driver, but the stability Karthikeyan brings to the team is defenitely in the form of paying the bills with the Tata sponsorship.

      Given that we are halfway into the season, its probably reasonable they have the car figured 50%. I hope they manage to keep onto the relatively strong season this year and build on that to make another step next year.

  4. From Narain [Karthikeyan] I’d emphasize his experience, safety and speed

    He’s very safe. He thinks speeding is way too dangerous… so he rather take it quiet.

    “I can make it.”

    1. @fer-no65 Speed is not something I would associated with Narain Karthikeyan.

  5. I agree. We’ve only seen half their potentiel. Half of it for the first half of the season, the other half for the rest :)

    1. I’m pretty sure that every F1 fan couldn’t be more excited about seeing HRT perform at their 100% potential.

      Karthikeyan for WDC!

  6. I think Karthikeyan was someone who always had potential but missed the opportunity to fully realise it.

    He was quick in F3, winning a few races, scoring poles & a number of podium, Beating Jenson Button more than a few times. He tested an Indycar & was immediately offered the drive based off his speed in the test but turned it down as he got offered the Jordan F1 ride for 2005.

    When he was on F1 in 2005 at Jordan he started off the year impressively enough but seemed to get derailed when Trevor Carlin (Who was working very closely with Narain) was booted from the team about Mid-Season, From that point on Narain had a really good race at Spa but slipped back towards the end of that year.

    When he raced in A1GP he immediately gave the Indian team a big performance boost & won a couple races, Beating Nico Hulkenberg on several occasions. He also won a couple Superleague Formula races beating a couple highly talented guys.

    I would say De La Rosa was similar in that he showed a decent amount of speed in his early F1 career, Especially at Arrows in 2000 but the fact he got thrown around from team to team & spent so long as test driver saw him not fulfill his full potential.

    1. Agreed.

      People dont give Narain the credit because he is always at the tail end. Although he has been consistently slower than DLR in qualy, his race pace is closer. I was impressed with Narain during his Jordan stint, he beat is team mate regularly in the first half of the season, but like you say, due t whatever internal issues they were having, his form tapered off.

      Like you say, his junior formulae form and those other stints he had outside of F1 has always been impressive (more than Karun Chandhok actually), its just unfortunate he never got a chance in a reasonably good car. I am not saying that he is front running material, but he definitely good enough to be a midfield team driver. Obviously age is catching up on him, I suspect this will be one of his last seasons in F1.

    2. AmaravatiKathulu
      11th August 2012, 18:29

      The Indian driver failed on PR front. Having seen how media drummed up Adrian Sutil’s session topping lap in wet weather affected free practice in 2007 season and Nico Hulkenberg’s lucky pole under variable conditions (driving the qualifying lap at the right moment in the session), one wonders why similar Narain’s qualifying lap in debut race, or his qualifier in Suzuka’05 or his session topping performance in free practices never made similar splash in 2005.
      While every body harps on importance of on-track performance, a point that is conveniently swept under the carpet is getting the right people say the right words , glorifying your on track performance. Narain and his management seemed to have lacked those skills.

      He had decent outing last year against Liuzzi and Ricciardo ( who were constantly driving FIA spec single seater cars) inspite of being away from FIA sanctioned single seaters for 3-4 years.
      This year Pedro pretty much has beaten Narain fair and square, but one has to take into account both Pedro and Grosjean are two drivers who were part of Pirelli test program and their ability to get most out the Pirelli tyres on single lap is clear this season. While Grosjean has qualified better than Raikkonen whose single lap speed was legendary, Pedro has on occasions even qualified better than the Marussias and consistently has 0.3-0.5 secs over Narain. Even in race, Pedro and Grosjean seem to have better understanding of Pirelli tyes and manage their tyres better than rest of the field.

      Only other drivers that are managing Pirelli tyres well are the two Sauber drivers and Maldanado. Even Alonso who has managed races well, has occasionally being hit by lack of grip and let the drivers behind him pass him with little or no fight.

      So given the amount of advantage Pedro has with Pirellis, Narain has given a good account of himself in my view. Of course that doesn’t hide the fact that the best years of the Indian drivers are now behind him.

  7. The main problem HRT has got is not a bad car, but a bad reputation. Many people don’t take the team seriously, though I think they deserve some more respect. The team has been the slowest team since they entered F1 three years ago, but they’re still there.

    “I’d say we’re at 50% of its potential and we can still extract another 50%, mainly in aerodynamics.”

    A desperate call for investors if you ask …

    The main reason why HRT has been going nowhere is that they haven’t invested in anything. Lotus/Caterham hired Mike Gascoyne and several other experienced men, and they have Kovalainen and before they had Trulli. Just looking at the Caterham and the HRT, it’s obvious that Caterham has made more progress with their car. I’m sorry to say this, but the HRT project is in my view hopeless,

    1. But you started with

      deserve some more respect


      Anyway, It’s hard to invest in big things like team headquarters without much money to do it… wait… no, they have invested in that…. ermm… Well, it’s hard to get a proper F1 d…. wait…. No, they have De La Rosa….

      Well, I guess they must be on the right track.

      When comparing them to Caterham, keep in mind Caterham has had a much healthier budget over the last few years, in fact, a fair estimate for Caterham’s budget, about $60m, is about double what HRT have been spending.

      1. @mike I think they need some respect for still being in Formula 1, unlike teams as Super Aguri, Spyker, Midland, Stewart, Pacific, Simtek, Venturi, Andrea Moda, Larrouse…

        The reason that Caterham now has double HRT’s budget is that they have had investors from the start. HRT started in 2010 as Campos Meta, with little money and a bad car. And since then they haven’t made any noticeable progress, nor have they got a bigger budget. So that’s why I think it’s hopeless, though I am impressed by the fact that there still are two white cars at the back of the field.

        1. As for De La Rosa, that’s a good decision. For the rest they mostly invested in making the team more Spanish instead of trying to beat the others: the new headquarters in Madrid, firing an experienced man like Colin Kolles and replacing him by the inexperienced Pérez-Sala, I mean.. come on!

        2. HRT started in 2010 as Campos Meta, with little money and a bad car.

          I think something that needs to be remembered about the car is that it was a bad car primarily because Dallara stopped development on it fairly early on as they weren’t getting paid.

          Had Dallara been paid & continued developing the car it would almost certainly have been a great deal better than it was.

          Also worth remembering that the car Senna drove throughout 2010 was the original chassis that was a fair bit over-weight compared to Chassis 2 & 3 (Which got wrote off at the Spanish Gp by Bruno). Chassis #1 was over-weight as it was only meant to be the test chassis, Dallara had planned to have 2 lighter/updated chassis avaliable for the start of the season with an additional 2 ready for the start of the European season.

  8. Whether it’s a positive or not, I think HRT are rapidly becoming the new Minardi. Sure, they find trouble everywhere and run at the back, but there’s more character than the top 5 put together. I hope they do well.

    1. but there’s more character than the top 5 put together.

      That´s a very bold statement dude! Although I have to agree with the res of your comment. HRT is there and will continue to be there if their limited reasources allow them to be.
      Most of the comments I´ve read emphasize HRT´s passion and given that I live in Spain, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that they are passionate. They want to build a very solid team so that F1 doesn´t die in Spain because after Fernando retires, where will the spanish drivers go? This way, they ensure that the top Spanish drivers wil have a sure place to start out and maybe standout! So yeah… passion is very high on their list of priorities.
      I know most take them as a cruel joke but from my point of view, they are doing a heck of a job with very, very limited resources and I hope they keep it up!! I know that in a couple of years they´ll make it into the bottom midfield runners.

      1. “…they´ll make it into the bottom midfield runners.”
        So you expect them to stay more or less where they are now…
        From now on i’ll consider HRT as the 50/50 team, you just can’t have it all!

  9. I would have thought De La ROsa’s input could provide the team with a bit more performance than I have seen this year, if they really get the aero development underway a step towards caterham could be possible, but more likely next year / the year after. They have come some way from the utter dog they fielded in 2011 though. If the team have only extracted 50% of the cars potential at this point – I’d say take a long hard look at the team!

    1. @jochenrindt78
      De la Rosa´s knowledge isn´t in the aero department. He knows the tyres well, at least last year´s tyres, but where his skills come in is working with the engineers and that sort of stuff, not aero.

      1. Sure, I just meant his experience in F1, knowing what a winning car feels like etc.

        1. @jochenrindt78
          He has given interviews here in Spain and he has made it clear that the HRT is a handfull. He was saying that he has never had to work so hard to drive a car… not even the ARROW. He also said that he has to be carefull with his wrists…
          He has tons of experience but I guess it´s hard to make the HRT behave.

    2. I think the term “Aero development” is tied to “feasible working budget”. So don’t expect them to be starting that en force anytime soon.

  10. think they r doin a better job than Marussia, given the resources they have. If they were in F1 in the mid ninties, they wud have got a few points as their relaibility is very good

  11. Michael Brown (@)
    9th August 2012, 17:42

    HRT has become more professional than they had been when they started out in 2010.

  12. I could not even imagine who grueling it would be to an HRT driver during any race or P and Q session,. constantly looking in your mirrors, blue flags etc. I have the same respect for the back markers as I do for the leaders.

  13. The only improvement I see is that they have a proper looking car this year and fortunately gave up on last seasons carnival livery.

    I would love to see them improve and become somewhat competitive but they are still really a mess, aren’t they ?

  14. Once again we see how restricting the design opportunities in F1 actually does nothing to reduce the cost of building a winning car, as stated above making aerodynamic improvements by designing and building in carbon-fibre which can only be tested at a race weekend and may or may not work is a very expensive business. To help small teams progress make progress the imbalance between mechanical performance and aerodynamic performance must be reduced, design rules should be stabilised so teams do not have to build and develop a new car every year and open up the possibility of backmarker teams being able to buy last years chassis and suspension from a front running team.

    1. +1million

      I agree; remove all restrictions except those for safety. Remove all “frozen zones” like engine and gearbox, and restrict the maddness with a “technical spending cap”.

      This will allow teams to develop a car year on year, and will return F1 to commercial innovation relevance because of the wider scope of innovation. Commercial cars will never need DRS, and the KERS power system is the exact opposite of what commercial electrics and hybrids need. Other than those things, F1 has not allowed any significant area for innovation in the past 5 years or more.

      F1 has always been about the technology as much as the drivers because of how circular their dependance is. It would be a huge disservice to the history of F1 to go with a car-spec, like other series. But, the spending is just TOO DAMN HIGH. Many other major sports have been successful with spending caps, and yet, competition Parity has not reared its ugly head.
      Why wouldnt this work for F1 too?

  15. Well as Sala said previously it was a nightmare when he joined everything was outsourced.

    This year they build base in Spain with required R&D, so hopefully they can have a solid progress from now on.

    All the best!

  16. I do hope they can start moving up the grid, there seems to be a lot of passion there. I have always rated Pedro pretty highly, way back in his Orange Arrows days he was always getting the most out of that car.

  17. they practically have the same car for three years and they’re still at only 50% of its potential? blimey

    i wonder what will happen to the likes of HRT and Marussia come 2014 and they have to pay for the new V6s. (given that they get an engine supplier at all).

  18. 50% of zero is still zero.

  19. They’re probably one of the most ‘national’ teams on he grid. Spanish driver, Spanish principal, Spanish reserve driver and a Spanish factory (having moved from an arguably more prosperous Germany). What’s not to like and also be impressed by?

    I believe their next real test will come around Feb 2013 when testing is under way for next season. Their commitment to testing, if they actually make it, will hopefully be a sign that things are on the up for them.

    1. lets see who will go broke first. HRT or Spain?

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