Narain Karthikeyan takes final F1 seat at HRT

2012 F1 season

Narain Karthikeyan, HRT, Buddh International Circuit, 2011

Narain Karthikeyan, HRT, Buddh International Circuit, 2011

Narain Karthikeyan will return to F1 with HRT in 2012, the team has confirmed.

Karthikeyan started eight races for HRT last year before being replaced by Daniel Ricciardo. He made a one-off return to the team at the Indian Grand Prix.

HRT previously announced their other driver for 2012 will be Pedro de la Rosa.

Karthikeyan said: “It has taken a lot of hard work to make this happen but I am absolutely elated to feature on the 2012 grid with HRT F1 Team.

“I was pleased with our strong performance at the Indian Grand Prix, in front of my passionate home fans and I look forward to building on this result in 2012. I have been training hard since the end of 2011, ensuring I was ready for the rigours of F1 if an opportunity arose. I am delighted to have signed with HRT F1 Team. With the new management, Pedro, and the team, there is definite potential for progress.

“We need to understand that F1 is new to India, we hosted our first race only last year which was a resounding success. To build on that momentum, an Indian driver will certainly keep the interest engaged throughout the season. I am proud to secure an opportunity to forge a stronger connection between India and Formula 1 once again.”

HRT team principal Luiz Perez-Sala added: “I am pleased to count with Narain for this season, as he will contribute continuity and stability. He is a quick, intuitive and secure driver who met his expectations despite a lack of continuity last year.

“Of the eight Grands Prix he contested in 2011, he only failed to finish on one occasion and had a great performance in the last race he took part in. I?m sure that the fact that he will continue to work and drive on a regular basis will help him take a step forward this season. And if he advances, so does the team. This is a year in which you could say that the team starts from scratch and everyone?s input will be fundamental.”

Karthikeyan’s signing completes this year’s driver line-up. Here’s the full list of 2012 F1 drivers and teams.

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91 comments on Narain Karthikeyan takes final F1 seat at HRT

  1. KeeleyObsessed (@keeleyobsessed) said on 3rd February 2012, 8:56

    Well, that completes the line-up.. No Barrichello, no Sutil, no Petrov, no Buemi, no Alguesuari…

    But it’s okay, cause we’ve got Grosjean and Karthikeyan!

    Oh, wait a minute…

  2. sandy (@sandy) said on 3rd February 2012, 9:05

    the whole weekend karthikeyan was hardly 0.1 sec off the pace of ricciardo..not bad pace considering he hadnt raced the previous 7 races

  3. OOliver said on 3rd February 2012, 9:05

    HRT made a very sensible decision.
    When you are at the back it makes no difference if you are a tenth slower or faster.
    Recciardo only got the seat last year because he brought money and he didn’t take pole either.

    They had the option of taking a fresh young driver and watching the races from home or taking a capable and financed driver and making it to the races.
    It is so easy to criticise when ypu are not the one doing the mathematics.

  4. guidoo said on 3rd February 2012, 9:59

    If they’re not going to take it seriously why don’t they just put someone like Paris Hilton in the bloody car?

  5. Txizzle (@txizzle) said on 3rd February 2012, 10:03

    Wouldn’t be suprised if HRT didn’t make it to the end of this year, i can somewhat understand the thought behind taking De La Rosa (although he has proven at Sauber to have become miraculously slow), but then adding Karthikeyan? Yikes!

    I’m no fan of Sutil/Petrov/Buemi/Alguersuari (but I am of Rubens!) but anyone of those would have been more deserving of even a seat at HRT then Narain.

  6. Shimks (@shimks) said on 3rd February 2012, 11:03

    Exciting announcement? No.

    Terrible decision? Maybe not.

    I really see no point in HRT having a young, inexperienced yet exciting driver line-up (from their point of view, not the fans’ point of view).

    With Pedro they’ve got reams of driving experience and McLaren experience which can be used to (a) keep the car on the track and (b) help develop it.

    And now with Narain Karthikeyan they’ve got another pair of safe hands that can bring the car home. No, he’s not exciting. And he often finishes at the back of the grid (sometimes due to penalties for blocking). But he doesn’t usually crash into things, so from a young team’s point of view, this is a good thing.

    Let’s face it, if HRT signed Alonso, Hamilton or Vettel, we still wouldn’t be seeing much better results than if Karthikeyan drives the car. And don’t forget, people: Narain finished 4th in the 2005 United States Grand Prix! ;)

    Also, think of the masses of money HRT will make from endorsements for the Indian GP.

    For us fans, yeah, boring, disappointing. But from HRT’s point of view, considering they also got a big bag of dosh for taking him, not a bad choice. This team needs to build slowly, like Luiz Perez-Sala says, “from scratch”. It will take time. Once their car is showing the promise of getting beyond Q3 in qualifying, then they can look towards less profitable yet more exciting drivers. First and foremost, the team needs to develop whilst ensuring it stays alive.

    I completely disagree with those who say a team like HRT does not deserve to be in F1. Often following these struggling teams is more interesting that watching the front runners win again and again and again.

  7. Karen (@funkyhugg) said on 3rd February 2012, 11:33

    I can understand why a team like HRT would take a driver with some experience (and some money) but Karthikeyan will be barely noticed this year. Dont remember him achieveing anything noteworthy last time. Bring in some fresh blood, give someone a chance to prove themselves.

  8. sam pooley said on 3rd February 2012, 11:35

    no disrispect towards karthikayen but i think HRT are making a massive mistake, he doesn’t quite cut the mustard for me. as we saw last season he will more than likely be sent packing before the half way point of the season, however, i do feel sorry for karthikayen saying that his elated to be racing for a team like HRT, come on, seriously.

    • hoshi (@hoshi) said on 3rd February 2012, 12:29

      daniel ricciardo was also “elated” to take Narain’s place….was he not serious?

      its PR..he cannot go there and say..look this is a very bad car and i am just clinging onto this as i love racing…

      rubens would have been elated to take this drive too..

      they are racers..they need to race..whatever they can get their hands onto,..

  9. maxthecat said on 3rd February 2012, 11:57

    Wow, looks like just about everyone of us on this site could be an F1 driver next year if we can get some money together. HRT really don’t belong in F1, no real ambitions to to do anything but make a few quid.

  10. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 3rd February 2012, 13:45

    He wouldn’t have been my first choice but i’ll give HRT and Karthikeyan the benefit of the doubt here. New management might make for an interesting season.

  11. Tom (@tomforpresident) said on 3rd February 2012, 13:58

    If he’s really that bad it makes you wonder why TCS put their money behind him, it’s a pretty massive company, if they wanted to be in formula 1 so bad they could probably make a team, or genetically breed a great driver.

  12. Fixy (@fixy) said on 3rd February 2012, 15:29

    Why would HRT drop him halfway through 2011 and re-sign him for 2012? This is the most stupid mistake ever.

  13. Txizzle (@txizzle) said on 3rd February 2012, 16:39

    I’ve read somewhere that he said “my performance at the Indian GP is why I’m back!” (not literally like that, but thats the point he’s making).

    Right….so you’re bad enough to get sacked, then good enough (read *economic interests because of Indian GP*) to return for 1 race. Consequently not good enough to stay, yet good enough to return the next year on the basis of that race after wich you were sacked the 2nd time.

    I don’t think this says anything about HRT…..*sarcasm*

  14. US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 3rd February 2012, 17:17

    On the positive side, at least some young up and coming future star of F1 won’t get stuck in a dead end backmarker team, thus killing their career before it starts. It can’t be easy to show your potential in such a useless and undeliverable car. Good luck to De la Rosa & Karthikeyan.

  15. TheD4N1EL (@thed4n1el) said on 4th February 2012, 0:35

    I think this is a good choice for HRT,

    Theyve got 2 experienced drivers specially with having Pedro de la Rosa, and they are getting money coming in from the sponsorship that Narain will be bringing to the team.

    Yes Narain isnt the most talented driver on the grid, but neither is Pedro to be honest, but i still think its a good line as theyve got 2 experienced drivers.

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