The Malaysian Grand Prix got underway today with the first and second practice sessions at Sepang, where HRT Formula 1 Team enjoyed a complete day of testing without great complications, taking another step forwards in this new age for the Spanish team.
In the morning, the team carried out its first tests with the DRS and hard compound tyres and with every stint Pedro de la Rosa’s and Narain Karthikeyan’s sensations at the wheel of the F112 improved. However, the Indian driver’s car stopped halfway through the session due to a hydraulic issue which was fixed in time for the second session.
In the afternoon, both de la Rosa and Karthikeyan worked on short stints to continue accumulating data with different set-ups and tyre compounds besides trying to optimize cooling, which is key at such a tough event as Malaysia. Karthikeyan and de la Rosa finished the day in 23rd and 24th position, completing 26 and 40 laps respectively.
Narain Karthikeyan, F112-01, #23:
"In the morning session we suffered some reliability issues, the same as in Melbourne but not as bad and we’ve also got some cooling issues too. In the afternoon these issues persisted on turns 13 and 14 where I wasn’t able to select the gears properly but the important thing is that we’re within the 107% time and can continue to improve and be in better conditions. I definitely felt the difference with regards to Australia but we need a lot more. This is one of the hardest races of the year so we’re going to need to work hard to be able to have a good performance”.
Pedro de la Rosa, F112-02, #22:
"Today has been a positive day for us because it panned out with the normality of a practice session day, and that in itself is good news. For the first time we were able to try out different solutions on this car: the DRS is working, the power steering has improved from Australia and, although we’re not where we would like to be, we’ve taken a considerable step forward. The sensations improved as the day wore on and the car behaved better from the morning to the afternoon. There’s still plenty to do, but the general evaluation for the day is positive”.
Toni Cuquerella, Chief Race Engineer:
"We’ve worked very hard these past days to fix the issues we encountered in Australia. Today was a normal Friday and a good day to validate the car’s systems. The priority is for the car to work and we checked that the DRS functioned without problems and resolved the majority of the hydraulic issues. We took another step forward on the track today and improved our lap times, but we’ve still got to improve a lot to make up for the time we lost with respect to our rivals. Tomorrow we will continue to work on optimizing cooling in race distance but, generally, we are satisfied with how the day went”.