Colin Kolles (left), team principal of HRT
After the somewhat dissapointing end to HRT’s Bahrain Grand Prix, the team are looking for improvements ahead of the Australian Grand Prix next weekend. According to team principal Colin Kolles, the team is targeting a race finish. He said:
“We have worked extremely hard since the Bahrain season opener. We have worked
long hours and successfully with Bridgestone, Cosworth and Xtrac learned from
our first laps with the car and found a good basis from which to start
preparation for our second Grand Prix in Australia in a few days.
We have successfully repaired the damage sustained by Karun Chandhok’s car and
focused on building our car’s reliability. Our goal is to improve steadily and
the next step is to work towards our first race finish. I am confident we will
achieve this goal very soon and having seen how we came together as a team in
Bahrain I can see just how much potential and commitment we have.”
Bruno Senna, before a radiator leak causes him to retire
First driver Bruno Senna did get 17 laps in the race, but then the car overheated thanks to a radiator leak, causing retirement. However, the Brazilian is happy with the team’s performance in Bahrain, an hopes to build on that in Melbourne:
“We need to continue building on what we achieved in Bahrain. We put two cars
together and ran successfully in Bahrain. Now we must continue to work as a
team. I came early to Australia to acclimatise to the time difference. I love
Australia more and more, as I spend more time here! I have already driven on
the Melbourne track, back in 2006.
I did the F3 support race for F1 back then and had a fairly successful weekend.
I won! Now, I must work with the team to continue learning about the car. I
have enjoyed working long hours with the team so far and I will be giving my
all as I really want to progress and guarantee them good results.”
Karun Chandhok just after his crash on Lap 2
Meanwhile, Karun Chandhok had a much harder time. He wasn’t able to run the car in Friday practice thanks to technical problems. He drove the car for the first time in qualifying, and was only 1.7 seconds behind his team-mate after only 2 laps in the car, which is pretty impressive. He still wasn’t used to the car, however, and crashed on Lap 2 of the race. Chandhok is now looking forward to the race in Australia:
“I am really looking forward to my second F1 race this weekend. I have never
driven in Melbourne, but I am a very quick learner. I was able to work on a
team’s simulator before the Grand Prix so that will help my familiarisation a
little bit! Our next step with the team’s engineers is to make the car
reliable for the race. The secret of good racing preparation is to complete
as many laps as possible on Friday to see where we are with the car. Finishing the
race would be a fantastic achievement we will strive for.”
With the complete lack of track time, HRT did what they could in Bahrain. I don’t actually think they will, nor do I expect them to, finish in Melbourne, because of the track’s car-breaker record. Still, if they can set consistent laps for about 20 laps or so, then I would be happy with them. Naturally, with much more track time, I’m hoping for at least one finish each from Lotus and Virgin. All of this will change by Barcelona (Race 5), and I will be expecting race finishes by all three teams by then.