Narain Karthikeyan

Despite Hispania Racing having failed to perform any pre-season running on its new F111 chassis, the team’s recently-signed driver Narain Karthikeyan is unworried about the prospects of both he and team-mate Vitantonio Liuzzi failing to qualifying for some Grands Prix this year.

In the wake of the three new teams having joined the sport last season, the sport’s rulemakers imposed the reintroduction of the 107% qualifying for the 2011 season, meaning that seriously uncompetitive drivers may not be allowed to start the race based on their qualifying pace.

While last year’s HRT F110 contender was the slowest in the field, it was generally not slow enough that it would have failed the 107% rule on too many occasions. However, the new F111 is largely based on its predecessor and has no testing, with the team also confirming it won’t perform any running on the car until the opening practice session for the Australian Grand Prix.

But Karthikeyan – making his comeback appearance on the grid for the first time since the end of the 2005 season – is not overly worried about the 107% rule, which was last in force in 2002.

“Based on the 107% rule, we have to be within 5.8 seconds of the pole time in Melbourne, which I think we are pretty capable of doing,” he told the Hindustan Times.

For those of you keen on F1 trivia, the last driver who failed to make the 107% cut when it was in force was Alex Yoong, who failed to qualify his Minardi at the 2002 German Grand Prix.

[Original image via Flickr]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.