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Japanese Grand Prix Practice – HRT F1 Team

Suzuka, Japan
Friday, 7th of October 2011
Maximum temperature: Air 23ºC, Track 37ºC – Sunny

Narain Karthikeyan F111-002 #23 24th (25 laps) 1:41.755
Daniel Ricciardo F111-003 #22 23rd (25 laps) 1:41.106

Vitantonio Liuzzi F111-002 #23 24th (4 laps) 1:42.480
Daniel Ricciardo F111-003 #22 22nd (36 laps) 1:38.763

The Japanese Grand Prix got underway today at the Suzuka Circuit with the first two practice sessions. Narain Karthikeyan joined Daniel Ricciardo for the morning’s session. The young Australian driver felt comfortable during his first day in Suzuka and completed 25 laps with a best time of 1:41.106. Karthikeyan got through the same amount of laps and finished six tenths of his teammate.

Although still very slippery, track conditions improved notably in the afternoon and so did the times. In the second 90 minute session, Ricciardo was the driver who completed the most laps, with 36, and improved on his morning time by over two seconds. The session ended prematurely for Vitantonio Liuzzi who was back in the cockpit of car #23. The Italian driver had to bring his F111 to a halt for safety reasons when had only completed 4 laps due to a water pressure drop.

Narain Karthikeyan: “Being back in the car is always good, even if it is just for one session. This morning, I did my bit for the team at Suzuka and getting some more kilometres under my belt and recovering the feeling ahead of the Indian GP. Suzuka has a lot of high-speed corners and it was good to drive around a fast circuit. However, I enjoyed it a lot and I hope that the work we did this morning provided enough data for the team to work on”.

Vitantonio Liuzzi: “Unfortunately today was too short to have any information on the car. After three laps we had an issue with the water pressure so we had to stop the car on the track. Two laps aren’t enough to judge how the car is but the good thing is that in those two laps we were up to pace. It’s a shame because this is a circuit where you need to do kilometres to get some rhythm going so it won’t be an easy weekend after this short practice session but we’ll see where we are tomorrow morning”.

Daniel Ricciardo: “My day went pretty well; luckily it went better than Tonio’s who unfortunately had to retire early on. So I’m happy to have completed both sessions. The car doesn’t feel too bad but we’re still quite a bit off the pace of our closest rivals so we need to make a big step to close the gap on them. I’m not sure where we’ll find this lost time; some of it could be in my driving. But we all need to work together on this to close that gap and hopefully we can achieve it to have a competitive race”.

Colin Kolles, Team Principal: “Today’s sessions have left us with a bittersweet taste. Daniel was making his debut at Suzuka and we weren’t expecting him to be up to the pace from the beginning. And in the afternoon he covered more laps than any other driver on track and assessed different configurations and tires, which has been quite positive. Obviously, the down side is that Tonio couldn’t manage many laps today. He left his place to Narain in the morning and then had to stop just three laps into FP2 due to a water pressure drop. We are looking into it now and we’ll get it fixed for him to get the most of the available track time tomorrow”.