HRT: We expected rain – but not like today

31/08/2012
Free practice session at the Belgian Grand Prix:

Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps
Friday, 31st of August 2012
Weather: Rainy – Air 12ºC, Track 14ºC

10.00-11.30 FORMULA 1 PRACTICE SESSION 1
Pedro de la Rosa   F112-02 #22  19th (12 laps)  2:19.546
Dani Clos                 F112-03 #23  20th (12 laps)  2:19.689

14.00-15.30 FORMULA 1 PRACTICE SESSION 2
Pedro de la Rosa     F112-02 #22  (0 laps) –
Narain Karthikeyan   F112-03 #23  (0 laps) –

After four weeks without competing, the Formula One World Championship returned to action today with the first free practice sessions at the Belgian Grand Prix. However it wasn’t the car nor the drivers but the rain that played the star role. In the morning session, with Dani Clos and Pedro de la Rosa at the wheel, the F112’s covered a dozen laps each under the heavy rain which continued through into the second session. Given the adverse conditions and that the forecast doesn’t predict rain for the rest of the weekend, De la Rosa and Karthikeyan decided not to risk it in the afternoon and neither one left the garage.

We will have to wait and see but, with a qualifying session and race predicted in dry conditions, tomorrow’s 60 minute free practice will be vital for everyone at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps.

Pedro de la Rosa: “I was surprised by the large amount of rain that poured down during both sessions. We anticipated the morning session to be less wet and that’s why we made the most of it to complete our only run. We only did a few laps mainly to confirm that the car and the systems worked well, so in the afternoon, with the track in even worse conditions, we decided not to go out as it didn’t contribute anything to us. It’s been almost a month since we drove the car and the positive side was that I was able to get rid of the rust and get a feel for the car. For tomorrow we have an extra set of dry tyres and as today we were unable to test with a full deposit, that will be a priority”.

Narain Karthikeyan: “Today I was unable to do any laps as the conditions were terrible, but you can’t fight against these things so the best thing is to focus on tomorrow. No rain is anticipated so we will work on making up for lost time from the very start and to get some feel for the car. It will be an intense session but I’m really looking forward to going out on track”.

Dani Clos: “Once again I got the opportunity to get into the F112 and it was fantastic. However the session wasn’t easy because of the conditions we faced. The track was very wet and the objective was to make sure that there were no problems with the car’s systems and assess the balance. In that sense everything went well and I felt very comfortable so I’m very happy with the job we did”.

Luis Pérez-Sala, Team Principal: “Coming from summer today was a bit of a shock. We expected rain but perhaps not like today, but Spa is quite unique. We weren’t able to take much away from the day, but at least we were able to check that everything worked well. Dani had another chance to run and that’s always positive. In the afternoon we considered that it wasn’t worth going out, especially as the forecast for tomorrow and Sunday is dry. Tomorrow we can’t lose any time but we’re all in the same situation”.