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Karthikeyan regains HRT drive
Narain Karthikeyan has been named as the second driver for HRT in 2012, joining Pedro de la Rosa at the team.
Karthikeyan drove for HRT during the first half of the 2011 season before being replaced by Daniel Ricciardo. He made a one-off return for the Indian Grand Prix before Tonio Liuzzi and Ricciardo saw out the season. Although Liuzzi had a contract for 2012 the team was looking for additional sponsorship from its second driver and Karthikeyan has secured the role with the team saying the move "is based on the principle of continuity contributing to the stability and reliability of the team".
Having impressed during the Indian Grand Prix, Karthikeyan said that he was looking forward to helping the team move forward.
"It has taken a lot of hard work to make this happen but I am absolutely elated to feature on the 2012 grid with HRT F1 Team," Karthikeyan said. "I was pleased with our strong performance at the Indian Grand Prix, in front of my passionate home fans and I look forward to building on this result in 2012. I have been training hard since the end of 2011, ensuring I was ready for the rigours of F1 if an opportunity arose. I am delighted to have signed with HRT F1 Team.
"With the new management, Pedro, and the team, there is definite potential for progress. We need to understand that F1 is new to India, we hosted our first race only last year which was a resounding success. To build on that momentum, an Indian driver will certainly keep the interest engaged throughout the season. I am proud to secure an opportunity to forge a stronger connection between India and Formula 1 once again."
Team principal Luis Perez-Sala said that Karthikeyan had proven to be a safe pair of hands during the 2011 season, and that the continuity of his input would be important for the team.
"I am pleased to count with Narain for this season, as he will contribute continuity and stability," Perez-Sala said. "He is a quick, intuitive and secure driver who met his expectations despite a lack of continuity last year. Of the eight Grands Prix he contested in 2011, he only failed to finish on one occasion and had a great performance in the last race he took part in. I'm sure that the fact that he will continue to work and drive on a regular basis will help him take a step forward this season. And if he advances, so does the team. This is a year in which you could say that the team starts from scratch and everyone's input will be fundamental."