Karthikeyan: New car a definite step up

Having become the first man to drive HRT F1's 2012 challenger this afternoon, Narain Karthikeyan was instantly left with positive feelings for the upcoming season, hailing the squad's new design as a 'definite step up' over its predecessor.

The 35-year-old Indian, who makes his return to the sport this year after a sporadic campaign with the Spanish outfit in 2011, rolled out the F112 as part of a dedicated promotional filming day at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain.

"Today was a shakedown of the F112 and I have had the honor to be the first driver to test it," said Karthikeyan, who toured the venue on demo Pirelli tires. "The first impressions are quite good; it’s definitely a step up from last year. We couldn’t do any set-up work or stuff like that but everything seems to be working fine and there are no major problems so we can look forward to the season now.

"Everyone has worked hard and the new team management has put everything together in a very short period of time. They’ve done a proper job with the car and I’m sure that it’s a big step forward from last year, so hopefully we can take the competition to the teams we were fighting last year."

Team Principal Luis Péres-Sala, who officially replaced former boss Colin Kolles in December of last year, was equally upbeat following the F112's first laps, describing the day as 'very important' ahead of the season opener in Melbourne next weekend.

"I’m very satisfied as it is a very important day for us because we were able to test things out with the new car during this filming day," he said. "I’m very proud of each and every member of this team because everyone has contributed their little bit for this to be possible. Now we have to focus on Australia because we still have a lot ahead."

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