No season opener for HRT as they fail to qualify

Pedro de la Rosa is wheeled into the Melbourne pit garage by the HRT crew

Pedro de la Rosa is pushed into the Melbourne pit garage by the HRT crew

Mar.17 (GMM) Narain Karthikeyan was unequivocal as he walked through the paddock gates on Saturday.

“I have to qualify. There are no two ways about it,” said the Indian.

It had been a difficult winter and an even more difficult season opener so far for the struggling Spanish team.

Saturday would be even worse, with Karthikeyan and his teammate Pedro de la Rosa failing to get within 107 per cent of the fastest time in ‘Q1’.

Often, the FIA allows drivers who fail to qualify to start the race anyway, but the new F112 has simply not merited a free pass in Melbourne.

“We did everything we could,” de la Rosa is quoted by EFE news agency.

“In the end, we have so much room for improvement and it is true to say that we have to change many things, we know what they are, so all I can say is that we all have to be patient.

“I said when I arrived in Australia that this is a test for us; this is our preseason. The downside is [that] we are doing it in front of all the cameras.

“It should be done already but it was not possible for us, so what we do now is work for Malaysia and the following races and focus on the areas that are important to make the car better.”

A report in A.S. newspaper said the biggest problem with the F112 car is the hydraulic system, which cannot be repaired in time for next weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix.

“I am proud of this team – you cannot ask for more than 24 hours a day of work from people,” said de la Rosa.

On the brighter side, fellow struggler Marussia did manage to qualify on merit in Australia.

“We’ve all had a great lift but we have a long way to go and plenty of hard work to do to make the car quicker,” said Timo Glock.

He told Auto Motor und Sport that it will take some time.

“Over the next few weeks we will do the little things first,” said the German. “Unfortunately we don’t have the capacity of someone like Red Bull so we would rather work a little longer on a big update.”

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