HRT Team Principal Perez-Sala positive about first half of the season
By Berthold Bouman
HRT Team Principal and former Formula One driver Luis Perez-Sala is happy with the achievements of his HRT team during the first half of the season. A lot of things have changed at the Spanish outfit, as they changed almost the entire team, contracted a new Team Principal, Perez-Sala, moved their headquarters to the capital of Spain, Madrid, and at the same time had to build a car for the 2012 season.
Asked about the move to Madrid the Spaniard replied, “It was a very ambitious challenge, a priori it was impossible to accomplish, but we’ve made it with very limited resources. Once we settled in, from April and May onwards, we started to get a race rhythm going. It’s safe to say we’ve encountered some very intense months where the team has given its all, because we’ve been able to carry out everything we set out to do.”
He also praised the team’s personnel for their commitment. “What I would say is that the most rewarding thing has been to see the commitment of everyone implicated in this project. These people have been united in very difficult moments and have shown bravery, honour and responsibility to continue supporting this project in the toughest moments,” he said, adding, “It’s not easy to work and perform to the best of your ability having not slept much, being away from home for weeks or going through uncomfortable journeys, but the members of this team have done it, and that’s something to be thankful for.“
Although it was a tough start of the season as HRT failed to qualify for the first round of the season, the Australian Grand Prix, HRT certainly made progress thanks to the F112. “I think that, overall, the F112 is a car that has given quite a good result, keeping in mind how it started. In winter I had a lot of doubts, because the car was handed to us and we didn’t have enough time to review it,” said Perez-Sala.
Asked whether the full potential of the car has been unlocked he stated, “The car has given good results. It has a good base and that’s its biggest strength. It’s a reliable car with good mechanical resistance and it offers a lot of possibilities for its development. I’d say we’re at 50% of its potential and we can still extract another 50%, mainly in aerodynamics.”
Perez-Sala admitted it is difficult for a small team to come up with upgrades every two weeks like the big teams do, but HRT does have an upgrade for the car after the summer break. “We have some upgrades prepared for the Singapore Grand Prix. As a small team we can’t afford small upgrades every two or three races because the cost of an upgrade or creating a new piece for a small upgrade is very high.”
And he further explained, “Besides the aerodynamic study, you have to produce the parts and that also implies a lot of time. So we have to make the most of any changes and have a very clear idea of the direction we want to take for those upgrades to be productive.”
Asked what HRT needs to call 2012 a successful season he was clear, “For me it would be a success to maintain the reliability we have and improve our performance a little bit more. To achieve this I hope that the aero package that we will introduce after the summer will help us to take the next step.”
And he added, “The objective is to stay between the 104 and 105 per cent [of the fastest car] and have the project for 2013 prepared. If we achieve all of this I’d be satisfied. Besides I hope that the team is fully functioning, with the design and aerodynamics department working at the Caja Mágica, although to achieve this we need a bit more time.”
And finally, asked about his pans during the summer break he said, “I’m staying with my family in Spain and we’re going to spend some days by the beach and others in the mountains. I’m really looking forward to spending some time with them and to disconnect to gain some strength because we’ve got a great end to the season ahead.”