The 2012 F1 grid has been completed with HRT announcing that Narain Karthikeyan will drive alongside Pedro de la Rosa...
The 2012 F1 grid has been completed with HRT announcing that Narain Karthikeyan will drive alongside Pedro de la Rosa.
HRT had, up until Friday, the only seat available for this year's Championship with rumours saying it would either remain in the hands of Tonio Liuzzi or go to a paying driver. It's gone to the latter.
Karthikeyan, who raced for HRT last season before being dropped in favour of Daniel Ricciardo and his Red Bull-backing, is set to return to the outfit this year in what is being billed as a move 'based on the principle of continuity contributing to the stability and reliability of the team.'
The 35-year-old, who also contested the inaugural Indian GP with the team, is delighted to be back on the grid.
"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," he said.
"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."
Team boss Luis Pérez-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."