De la Rosa denies HRT car is unsafe

Pedro De La Rosa (ESP) HRT Formula One Team in the Press Conference. Formula One World Championship, Rd19 United States Grand Prix, Preparations, Austin, Texas, 15 November 2012.Nov.15 (Reuters) Pedro De la Rosa denied reports on Thursday that his cash-strapped Formula One team HRT was putting him in danger by sending the Spanish driver out in an unsafe car for this weekend’s U.S. Grand Prix.

The Spanish-based Formula One backmarkers are up for sale and talks are ongoing with a number of groups interested in buying the team, owners Thesan Capital said earlier this week.

With HRT’s future up in the air, Spanish media reported the team does not have enough spare parts to see it through the final two races of the season, the U.S. Grand Prix at the newly constructed Circuit of the Americas on Sunday, and the Nov. 25 season finale in Brazil.

“We might be modest, we are small, we are what we are but we are a professional Formula One team and for sure when we go running it is because the car is safe,” De la Rosa told reporters.

“I would never jump into an unsafe car because of parts being too old. The car is slow but it is safe.”

The team, who have yet to score a point in three years, have De la Rosa and Indian Narain Karthikeyan as their two current drivers.

Thesan Capital took over HRT in July last year, with former grand prix driver Luis Perez-Sala becoming the team principal and the headquarters moving to Madrid.

HRT have developed links with China this year with Shanghai-born Ma Qing Hua driving their car in some Friday practice sessions and enlisted in their young driver development programme.

The team held an event in Shanghai last week to recognise Ma Qing Hua’s achievement in becoming the first Chinese-born driver to take part in a grand prix weekend.

De la Rosa could shed no light on the team’s future beyond plans to run the final two events on the calendar.

“There is not much I can say, it is a corporate decision [in] which I am not involved,” said De la Rosa.

“All I can say is, we are here, there are two more grands prix to go and no matter what is going on in the background we will give 100 percent like we have always done.

“No matter who we fight against we will do a professional job. We are here to do that.”

Subbed by AJN.