Monday, January 17, 2011

Team Hispania bank on Karthikeyan

Formula One Hispania Racing Team (HRT) are confident of a turnaround in their fortunes this season with India’s Kakarla Kumar Ram Narain Karthikeyan at the wheel.

Team Principal Colin Kolles, who has known Karthikeyan from his days with Jordan, reckons the Indian is fitter and faster than before and it was right for him to make a comeback.

“We are hoping for a better performance for sure. Last season was the first one for some people in the Team, including the drivers. And we are working hard on the more developed and improved car,” Kolles told IANS in an e-mail interview.

“I have known Karthikeyan for a long time. His experience is valuable, having raced for Jordan and test driven as reserve driver for Williams F1, besides other important racing series,” he said.
The Madrid-based side failed to earn a point in the 2010 season and shared the back of the grid with other low budget teams like Virgin and Lotus.

Kolles said the dynamics of the car had changed for better.

“We have a Williams rear end with the hydraulics and the Cosworth engine. A package that was able to qualify in the top ten last year! Anyway, we have to be realistic,” he said.

The German is now looking to fill the second driver’s seat and was quick to rule out the name of last season’s driver Karun Chandhok, the second Indian to drive a F1 car after Karthikeyan. Chandhok said he had turned down the HRT offer to drive this season.

“We never made any offer to Chandhok for the new season. I do not see him as the second driver.”

“We left because FOTA defends mainly the interests of the big teams. We see no benefit in paying money for being part of an association like FOTA. We better invest our money in developing the car and in giving a chance to young people in a young team,” Kolles said
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