The F112, the car with which HRT contest the season, completed its first laps at the Circuit de Catalunya today.
Since the car passed the final crash test and was homologated, the team has worked flat-out to ensure the car would take to the track before the season opener. A first for the Spanish outfit.
The car made it to the circuit from Munich, just after one this afternoon and the mechanics and engineers got straight down to business, working on relevant adjustments. It was a combined team effort, working against the clock, which saw its rewards four hours later when Narain Karthikeyan led the car out onto the track. Pedro de la Rosa, Dani Clos and Tonio Liuzzi were also present, as were Carlos Gracia, President of the Spanish Motorsports Federation and Salvador Servia, General Director of the Circuit de Catalunya.
The tests were carried out without any setbacks and the car completed ten laps. The team was able to check that the car functioned properly both from a mechanical and aerodynamic point of view as from a systems standpoint.
"Today was a shakedown of the F112 and I have had the honour to be the first driver to test it," said Karthikeyan. "The first impressions are quite good; it's definitely a step up from last year. We couldn't do any set-up work or stuff like that but everything seems to be working fine and there are no major problems so we can look forward to the season now. Everyone has worked hard and the new team management has put everything together in a very short period of time. They've done a proper job with the car and I'm sure that it's a big step forward from last year, so hopefully we can take the competition to the teams we were fighting last year."
"Today has been a very special day," added de la Rosa, "because the car saw the light for the first time; Narain did some installation laps and then various times laps without any issues. This is very important, it might not seem like it, but any sort of mileage before Australia is vital to see that the car is in good conditions. From here it is our job to try and improve it and make it progress."
"I'm very satisfied today as it is a very important day for us because we were able to test some things out with the new car during this filming day," said team principal, Luis Peres-Sala. "I'm very proud of each and every member of this team because everyone has contributed their little bit for this to be possible. Now we have to focus on Australia because we still have a lot ahead."
Check out our F112 gallery, here.