India’s only F1 racer at the moment,Narain Karthikeyan is hopeful of retaining his seat in HRT for the 2013 season with some strong showings in the upcoming Asian races.
“Next part of the season are the Asian races – Singapore,Korea,Japan and the Indian GP. The next leg of Asian races suit me and I intend to put up a good show,” Karthikeyan said here today.
“HRT has done a lot of investment. We have a proper headquarter,proper factory now. Everything has come under one roof which was never the case. There is a great new facility in Madrid. We are trying to reap the benefits of these facilities for the next season with some good finishes.
“The management and I have very good rapport. Hopefully,we can work something out. I would like to stay at HRT. That’s the plan and it seems good so far,” he said.
Summing up the team’s performance in the first half of the season,Karthikeyan said,”From Australia till now we have improved a lot. At the last race in Monza,we improved almost by two seconds from the pole car since last year.
“The team is making big strides. I had a good finish in Monza. I am hoping to keep the momentum going into the Asian races,” said the Chennai driver,who was at the Buddh International Circuit to test the new MRF Formula 2000 car.
For the Singapore GP,HRT has gone for some updates in the car with the aerodynamics. “We have updates with the aerodynamics. We are hoping that the car will improve a little bit more. But how big will be the improvement,that depends when we drive in the practice sessions.”
Commenting on his rivalry with teammate Pedro de la Rosa,the 35-year-old said he has been unlucky.
“Pedro is a very fast guy who has a lot of knowledge of the Pirelli tyres and he knows how to get the most out of it. I have improved a lot because of him as you are benchmarking against a very experienced guy,” he said.
Rosa has had better finishes than Karthikeyan in all the races so far. Karthikeyan conceded that it’s tough to go faster than a fast guy like Pedro.
“I have had some bad luck. Qualifying from Silverstone onwards,I have been unlucky in missing Practice One on Fridays while the second practice has been wet. So to get one hour of practice on Saturday and then to compete against a fast guy like him is difficult and challenging.”
Karthikeyan will also be sitting out the first practice for the HRT in Singapore like that at the Italian GP where Chinese driver Ma Qinghua replaced him.
“It would be the same in Singapore for FP1,” he said.
Asked about the reactions of other F1 drivers on the Buddh International Circuit (BIC),Karthikeyan said everyone has given a thumbs-up to the track.
“Everyone has given a thumbs-up,it’s a nice layout,nice facilities and nice track. It’s one of the smoothest tracks in the world. I haven’t driven here since the Indian GP. Driving today,I found that nothing has changed. The track is still very flat,smooth and enjoyable. It has much less dust as there was last year.”
Karthikeyan also picked Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso for this year’s Formula One driver’s World Championship.
“Alonso is pulling out something much more than what that Ferrari is capable of irrespective of the anything. Whether is wet or dry or whatever,he is still doing a tremendous job,” he said.
“He is thinking a lot about it. In races,where he knows he can’t win he is taking away huge chunks of points from his rivals. He is 37 points ahead of his closest rival Lewis (Hamilton) and it will be hard to stop him,” he added.