• Australian Grand Prix - FP2

HRT admits qualifying for the race will be difficult

ESPNF1 Staff
March 16, 2012 « Raikkonen opts not to run new steering system | Ecclestone adamant over Bahrain »
Narain Karthikeyan was over 13 seconds off Michael Schumacher's pace in FP2 © Sutton Images
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HRT team principal Luis Perez-Sala has admitted there is a real danger his cars will not qualify for the Australian Grand Prix this weekend and that the team may have to target Malaysia or even China as its first race.

HRT failed to qualify for last year's season-opener after very limited mileage ahead of qualifying and it again missed pre-season testing this year. The new F112s completed 20 laps between their two drivers during Friday practice at Melbourne (19 for Narain Karthikeyan and 1 for Pedro de la Rosa), but Karthikeyan was over 13 seconds off the pace and both cars struggled with reliability issues.

Asked if he thought his cars would qualify within the 107% rule, Perez-Sala said: "It will be difficult for us. I'm not thinking now about the speed of the cars, now we are trying to fit all of things to make do as best as possible to make P3 tomorrow, doing several laps and then we will see on the qualifying. For us Melbourne is like a place where we are going to take certain information from the cars and go forwards for the next races."

He added that HRT was basically using the practice sessions as a test to try to understand the problems with the new car.

"For us the most important thing is to be here as we are and then to try to learn as much as possible," he added. "Of course the team is a bit tired as well, they have been working hard for the last month and I would like them to relax a bit and take information and we will see if it's Shanghai or Malaysia-Shanghai, whenever we start to do our real pace and then trying to improve and to get better and better through the season."