HRT Formula 1 Team met its targets once more today at the Bahrain Grand Prix as both cars crossed the finish line at the demanding 57-lap race which took place at the Bahrain International Circuit. It was all thanks to the extraordinary performance from Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan who finished in 20th and 21st respectively.
As expected, tyre management was key at the fourth event of the season and strategies varied from two to four pitstops. Pedro did three and finished the race to the limit, whereas Narain came in four times, enabling him to put together his best laps towards the end of the race. The good work put in by the drivers and the correct performance of the cars, thanks to the upgrades introduced, offer a positive view of this Grand Prix overall.
After more than a month on Asian soil, the Championship comes back closer to home for the European swing which gets underway on the 11th of May with the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya, with a previous stop-off in Mugello for three days of testing (1st-3rd May).
Pedro de la Rosa: "It was a tough race, but we finished with both cars and that is positive for the team. The truth is that our rhythm wasn’t what we’d hoped for. We have to gain some speed per lap, more than anything because we want to be fighting our rivals on a consistent basis. In today’s race we didn’t have sufficient rhythm. Looking back it’s true that we’ve taken a giant stride but we can’t be satisfied with just that. We’ve improved a lot but we’re at the starting blocks, where we should have been in Australia. We’ve got very good individuals on board, a new workshop where we can build on a solid base, and that is the most positive thing. Now we want to get back to work on the car and try new things out. We’re really looking forward to Europe”.
Narain Karthikeyan: "The start today was good, but then the first few laps were quite tough because there was dust everywhere. I settled behind Pedro but I think I pushed too hard in the first stint because my tyres were dead very quickly. After my first pitstop, I improved a lot and from there my lap times were consistent. We did a four-stop strategy, which I think went very well, and in the end we were only half a second behind Pedro at the checkered flag. My race performance was extremely good, I’d say it was my best Grand Prix so far this season, so I’m very happy about that”.
Luis Pérez-Sala, Team Principal: "We passed another stern test here in Bahrain with the high temperatures and I’m very satisfied with how everything went. We met our targets again and I want to thank the team once more for its excellent job. Perhaps the negative side was that we wore the tyres out a lot and that’s why we had to do a four-stop strategy. We tried to go for three with Pedro but he finished right on the limit so maybe it wasn’t the best choice. Reliability was also good and the team is working well. We can say that we are already at the standard with which we finished last year. From here we must progress”.
Sources: HRT F1 Team