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Small teams important for F1 - Karthikeyan

ESPNF1 Staff
April 26, 2011 « Williams targets first points with Turkey upgrades | »
Narain Karthikeyan: "Teams like these are equally important for F1. We are all a part of the show" © Sutton Images
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Narain Karthikeyan believes smaller teams such as HRT play a crucial role in Formula One.

The Indian returned to F1 this year with HRT after bringing his personal sponsor Tata to the outfit and believes small teams are crucial for drivers trying to get a break in the sport.

"The fact is we are never in contention for the title," he told the Hindustan Times. "But teams like these are equally important for F1. We are all a part of the show.

"[Those teams] provide the platform for younger drivers and for drivers like me who are coming back. There's this hierarchy in every sport, but it only makes it more interesting."

HRT's technical director Geoff Willis, who has worked for teams such as Red Bull and BAR in the past, has been impressed by his small team's start to the 2011 season given the problems it faced.

"We started the design only in mid-December and it is 75-80% a new car, and we clearly have had to take a number of shortcuts in terms of its aerodynamic performance," Willis was quoted by ITV. "I am very pleased that almost on a session by session basis we make the car faster, we make decisions better.

"We still make mistakes, but I hope we learn from them. It is difficult to say whether it is better or worse than I thought. Starting from the restrictions we had I think we have done an extremely good job but we are all very determined to do a much, much better job.

"Looking back, there is a lot behind us and looking forward there is a lot in front of us and we just need to keep pushing every session, every race and bringing bits as fast as we possibly can, and building the team, growing as we go."

Meanwhile HRT's closest rival Virgin is planning an overhaul of its car for the Turkish Grand Prix, including a higher nose, a new floor, Red Bull-like exhausts, modified rear suspension and new wings.

"We have stagnated," team principal John Booth told Speedweek. "The new developments for the Turkish Grand Prix will eliminate many of our problems, but we will only then be where we wanted to be in Australia."