HRT’s new F112 challenger had its first track outing on Monday, after the team conducted a small launch ceremony at the Circuit de Catalunya.
After being unable to ready the Cosworth-powered car in time for the final pre-season test last week, the Spanish squad took advantage of the sport’s filming day regulations to conduct a shakedown run on the chassis, with Narain Karthikeyan being bestowed the honours.
Life its predecessors, the F112 has had a troubled gestation. The team was sold to new investors Thesan Capital mid-season last year, and the squad has undergone several wholesale restructures, including the loss of several key management and technical staff.
The car was unveiled by new team principal Luis Pérez-Sala, with Karthikeyan, team-mate Pedro de la Rosa and reserve driver Dani Clos also in attendance.
“I’m very proud of each and every member of this team because everyone has contributed their little bit for this to be possible,” he said. “Now we have to focus on Australia because we still have a lot [of work] ahead.”
After his maiden outing in the car late in the afternoon, Karthikeyan was upbeat about the team’s prospects heading into the season-opener.
“The first impressions are quite good; it’s definitely a step up from last year. We couldn’t do any set-up work or stuff like that but everything seems to be working fine and there are no major problems so we can look forward to the season now,” the 35-year-old said.
“Everyone has worked hard and the new team management has put everything together in a very short period of time. They’ve done a proper job with the car and I’m sure that it’s a big step forward from last year, so hopefully we can take the competition to the teams we were fighting last year.”
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