The exhaustive work on track and post data analysis yesterday paid off today as HRT Formula 1 Team’s performance improved substantially as the team took a step forward at a complicated circuit.
A fantastic result at a high downforce track that confirms the efficiency of the aero upgrades introduced in Singapore. His teammate Narain Karthikeyan spun off track in the morning, damaging the new floor in the process, meaning that he had to switch it for the old one.
The team reacted to perfection and Narain was able to come back out in the latter stages. The floor couldn’t be fixed in time for qualifying, resulting in Narain not being able to come close to his teammate’s time and finishing in 24th.
Suzuka is a circuit that enables overtaking but looking back at these past days, tyre management and pitstops will no doubt play a vital role in tomorrow’s 53-lap race. Pedro will start in 20th position, whilst Narain will do so from 24th.
Pedro de la Rosa: "Today I went out to give it my all and I’m happy with how it went. The team did a fantastic job and the car’s set-up improved notably.
In qualifying I did two good laps; the second one was even better, almost perfect, and tomorrow we will start ahead of Caterham and Marussia which is already a success. More so at a circuit like this one.
We’ve got to be more than happy with what we’ve done. Tomorrow in the race we will go for everything. The important thing is to have a good pace, look after the tyres and finish strong”.
Narain Karthikeyan: "In the morning the car was working very well and my first laps were fantastic but then I spun off and damaged my new floor so we had to go back to the old one.
In qualifying I barely had any grip and on my last lap I went long at 130R. It wasn’t a good qualifying session for me, but the car is performing much better and, although tomorrow will be a tough race, we will try and finish it in the best way possible”.
Toni Cuquerella, Technical Director: "Today we opted for a different balance to yesterday to make the car more neutral, with less understeer, and we got it right. Frankly we didn’t expect to come so close to our rivals at a high downforce circuit like this one and it was a pleasant surprise besides being a reward for a job well done.
Pedro’s times were very competitive and he was in the 103.6%, which is the second best result in qualifying of the year. It was a shame that Narain damaged the new floor and had to come out with the old one.
This result adds to the data we analyzed and confirms that the aero upgrades that we introduced at Singapore are an important step forward.
In tomorrow’s race, tyre wear will play an important role and the most probable thing will be to opt for a two or three stop strategy”.
Source: HRT - Formula 1 Team