Narain Karthikeyan insists he is not overly worried about failing to qualify for grands prix this year.
It means very uncompetitive cars and drivers can be excluded from the grid based on their qualifying pace.
HRT had F1's slowest car last year, and for 2011 the Spanish team has launched a new car that resembles its predecessor and has not been tested at all.
But Indian Karthikeyan, who is expecting to take a few races to get up to speed with his 2011 teammate Vitantonio Liuzzi, said he is not overly worried about failing to qualify.
"Based on the 107pc rule, we have to be within 5.8 seconds of the pole time in Melbourne, which I think we are pretty capable of doing," he told the Hindustan Times.
Some observers have questioned the 34-year-old's decision to return to F1 after a five-year absence when he was making money as a NASCAR truck driver.
"It is true that all the money I made while racing in NASCAR I have already spent this season, but I didn't want to pass up on an F1 return because I didn't want to spend the rest of my life thinking 'what if'?" insisted Karthikeyan.