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HRT 'belong' in F1 - Karthikeyan

ESPN Staff
July 17, 2012 « Ferrari confident it can be competitive at Hockenheim | Williams pair confident for Germany »
Narain Karthikeyan believes the F112 is "two seconds faster" per lap than its 2011 predecessor © Sutton Images
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Narain Karthikeyan says that HRT's new management approach has proven that the team "belong to Formula One".

HRT was bought from Jose Ramon Carabante by Madrid-based investment firm Thesan Capital last July, with Karthikeyan driving for the team in eight races under both owners. Having remained with HRT for the 2012 season, Karthikeyan admitted that he was disappointed with how the year got underway as the team failed to qualify in Australia, but that it was now making clear progress.

"We have come a long way since the disappointing season-opener," Karthikeyan told the Deccan Chronicle. "It was a low point as I never thought I would be a spectator in Melbourne. But I never regretted the decision to continue with HRT. The team used to work like a GP2 outfit, but a change in the management has showed that they belong to Formula One.

"The car has improved a lot compared to last year's, to be precise two seconds faster. It's much more reliable. In the last few races we have proved that our car is quick in qualifying but we haven't yet shown it in a race situation."

Karthikeyan expects that HRT will become more competitive as the season goes on, with the team now focused on improving the car's aerodynamic performance.

"Exciting time ahead as the team is working on several upgrades. Mechanically the car looks fine now; so the team's focus is on bringing more changes in the aerodynamics when the season resumes after a month-long break at Belgian GP in the first week of September. We are expected to run a lot more closer to Marussia. I am excited about the upgrades especially with the Indian GP scheduled for the second half of the season."

And looking ahead to next year, Karthikeyan has stated that he hopes to remain with HRT.

"Formula One is a complicated business, but I would love remain with HRT as I am very comfortable dealing with this management. I know the team's plans for the 2013 car and it's expected to be much more advanced. So I am excited about it."