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Narain Karthikeyan has been revealed as HRT's second driver for the 2012 season, returning to the Murcia-based squad after an eight-race spell in the sport last year. The Indian, who had his 35th birthday in January, joins Spanish driver Pedro de la Rosa at the outfit, the latter also making a full-time comeback.
Karthikeyan’s confirmation, somewhat unexpected as several drivers appeared to be in a strong position to take the seat, completes the grid for Formula 1 in 2012. His debut came with Jordan in the Australian Grand Prix of 2005.
"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 says. "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."
Also for 2012, former Grand Prix driver Luis Pérez-Sala has become HRT Team Principal, replacing Colin Kolles after joining the team in an advisory role last season.
"I am pleased to count with Narain for this season, as he will contribute continuity and stability," Pérez-Sala explains. "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."
Testing begins in Jerez next week, although HRT will not be present; the squad hopes to run at the first Barcelona test with its 2011 car, with plans in place to debut its new contender for the final four days of winter running.
HRT F1 Team
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